Exploring Air-Driven and Analog Control Options for Soft Robots

Fluidic circuits provide analog control options for soft robots
Soft robots can now be controlled by analog or air-driven control systems.

Researchers, engineers, and materials scientists at Rice University and Harvard University published a study online this week that showed how to create programmable non-electronic circuits for controlling the actions of soft robotics using compressed air bursts encoded with information.

Colter Decker is the lead author of the paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. \”Part of the beauty of the system is that it allows us to break computation down into its simplest components\”, said Decker. He explained that electronic control systems had been refined and honed for many decades. Recreating computer circuitry with analogs of pressure and flow rate, instead of voltage or current, made it easier to integrate pneumatic computation.