A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

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RESEARCHERS in EPFL’s Soft Transducers Laboratory (LMTS) and Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), in collaboration with researchers at the Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo, Japan, have developed the first entirely soft pump that could play a big role in the development of autonomous soft robots, lightweight exoskeletons and smart clothing. Flexible, silent and weighing only one gram, it is poised to replace the rigid, noisy and bulky pumps currently used. The researchers have just published an article on their work in Nature. They have successfully implanted their pump in a type of robotic finger widely used in soft robotics labs. They are now collaborating with Koichi Suzumori’s laboratory in Japan,
which is developing fluid-driven artificial muscles and flexible exoskeletons.

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