A soft-and-stiff body puts a spring in a new jumping robot’s step. A butane-fueled explosion sparked inside this soft robot launches it skyward. A rubbery plastic belly balloons out, letting the bot shove off the ground. Stiffer plastic up top holds the bot’s delicate parts in place.
N.W. Bartlett et al. A 3D-printed, functionally graded soft robot powered by combustion. Science. Vol. 349, July 10, 2015, p. 161. doi:10.1126/science.aab0129.
Video courtesy of Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Reported by Meghan Rosen
Produced by Ashley Yeager