October 18, 2012

Tufts Scientists to Research Robots of the Future

On the horizon: A new generation of robots made of soft materials and capable of performing tasks too complex for conventional robots

A five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to Tufts University will help launch an interdisciplinary graduate program to enable scientists and engineers to create soft-bodied robots.

Inspired by squishy, flexible creatures like the common caterpillar, the researchers from the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering will develop soft-bodied robots that will be continuously deformable and capable of collapsing and crumpling into small volumes. They will have capabilities that are not currently available in conventional robots that are rigid, mechanical machines including climbing textured surfaces and irregular objects, crawling along ropes and wires, or burrowing into complex confined spaces.