Engineers print flexible 3D robotic hand that can play Nintendo
A team of researchers 3D printed a flexible robotic hand agile enough to play Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros and win too
New York: A team of researchers 3D printed a flexible robotic hand agile enough to play Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. and win too.
The key breakthrough for the team, led by University of Maryland Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ryan D Sochol, has been the ability to 3D print fully assembled flexible robots with integrated fluidic circuits in a single step. .
“Previously, each finger of a flexible robotic hand typically needed its own line of control, which can limit portability and usefulness,” explained co-lead author Joshua Hubbard.
“But by 3D printing the flexible robotic hand with our built-in fluidic transistors, it can play Nintendo based on a single pressure input,” Hubbard added in an article published in the journal Science Advances.
The safety and adaptability inherent in soft robots has sparked interest in their use for applications such as prosthetics and biomedical devices.
Unfortunately, controlling the fluids that make these soft robots bend and move has been particularly difficult – until now.
In addition to Nintendo’s robotic hand, the Sochol team also reported on soft robots inspired by terrapin turtles in their article.
“Recently, several groups have tried to exploit fluidic circuits to improve the autonomy of soft robots,” said co-first author of the study, Ruben Acevedo, “but the methods of constructing and integrating these Fluid circuits with robots can take days to weeks, with a high degree of manual labor and technical skill. “
To overcome these obstacles, the team turned to “PolyJet 3D printing”, which is like using a color printer, but with many layers of multi-material “inks” stacked on top of each other in 3D. .
“Within a day and with minimal effort, researchers can now go from starting pressure on a 3D printer to full flexible robots – including all flexible actuators, fluidic circuit elements and body characteristics – ready to use, ”said study co-author Kristen Edwards.
Currently, the team is exploring the use of their technique for biomedical applications, including rehabilitation devices, surgical tools, and customizable prostheses.
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