A Hybrid Combining Hard and Soft Robots

Adam Stokes, Robert F. Shepherd, Stephen A. Morin, Filip Ilievski, George M. Whitesides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This manuscript describes a hybrid robotic system combining hard and soft sub-systems. This hybrid comprises a wheeled robot (an iRobot Create©; hard) and a four-legged quadruped (soft). It is capable (using a simple, wireless control system) of rapid locomotion over flat terrain (using the wheeled hard robot), and of gripping and retrieval of an object (using the independent locomotive capabilities of the soft robot). The utility of this system is demonstrated by performing a mission requiring the capabilities of both components: retrieving an object (iPod Nano®) from the center of a room. This class of robot—hybrids comprising hard and soft systems functioning synergistically—is capable of performing tasks that neither can do alone. In contrast to specialised hard robotic arms with grippers (capable of performing some of the functions we describe here), which are complex, relatively expensive, and require sophisticated controls, this hybrid system is easy to construct, simple to control, and low in cost. The soft robotic system in the hybrid is lightweight, disposable if contaminated or damaged, and capable of multiple functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-74
JournalSoft Robotics
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

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