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Harvard researchers create robot-toad with 3D printers

Published today in the journal Science, a soft robot that jumps like a toad came into the world, a robot created with 3D printers by a group of researchers at Harvard University led by Nicholas Barlett.

They have used nine layers, the last of rubber, to prevent it from breaking in the falls. Use an air compressor that inflates the tip of each leg at high speed, providing the necessary boost for the jump.

It has three legs, and can be inflated differently to better control movement. The gas used is a mixture between butane and oxygen, and when burned it expands, inflating the corresponding leg, as explained in this article, where they make some comments about the advantages of the material used:

This design combines the autonomy and speed of a rigid robot with the adaptability and flexibility of a smooth robot and, because of 3-D printing, it is relatively cheap and fast.

Using combustion allows jumps of up to six times the height of the robot itself in vertical jumps, reaching enough speed in horizontal movements.

The goal is similar to that of robots, the same size and freedom of movement: to reach places that humans cannot access to help humans who may be in danger, although they do not rule out space missions.

We leave you with the video showing details of the material used and with some example jumps: