It might soon be fairly minor to make soft robotics— a minimum of, if you have a 3D printer convenient. UC San Diego scientists have developed a way to 3D-print insect-like flexible robotics cheaply, rapidly and without utilizing exotic devices. The technique was to print “flexoskeletons,” or rigid products 3D-printed on to versatile and thin polycarbonate sheets. Much like insects, there are functions that increase rigidity just in particular areas– a contrast with standard soft robots that frequently have soft functions added to solid bodies.
Each flexoskeleton element takes about 10 minutes to print, and a completely assembled bot should be ready in less than two hours. An individual part expenses less than $1– the processing power, sensors and battery are likely to be the most expensive parts.