Soft robots have received the most attention in the fields of prosthetics and rehabilitation. The use of soft materials in the creation of robots has spawned a slew of new applications in a variety of fields. Robots are now being used in the biomedical field, for rescue, and in a variety of other innovative applications. The best thing about soft robots is that they bring an innovative and novel approach to assisting humans in various environments. We attempted to gather information on some innovative applications for soft robots and present it to you below.
Innovative Applications for Soft Robots
#1: Robots that can climb
These robots can reach where humans cannot and that makes them particularly interesting. They have the potential to be used at great heights for conducting inspections, maintenance work in high-rise buildings, and even search and rescue missions. Some climbing robots are designed to bend when they move, just like caterpillars. These kinds of robots are particularly helpful in climbing walls of high structures.
#2: Robots that can be worn
Biomimetic devices include robots that can help patients while they are recovering from injury and undergoing physical rehabilitation. These robots mimic the natural movement of the patient’s body wherever placed. This helps the patient to regain normal motor movements if they have been affected due to an accident.
This type of soft robot is proving to be of great assistance to patients that have suffered a stroke and survived only to live with hemiparesis. A soft robot that can be used at home for hand rehabilitation is improving the quality of rehabilitation therapy. It is low-cost and significantly improves the patient’s ability to perform daily living activities without hindrance.
#3: Robotic Muscles
Robotic muscles are being developed in the most innovative ways that are possible. One method draws inspiration from Origami (the Japanese art of folding paper into different shapes). One folded structure of the robotic muscle is designed to lift as much as 1000 times its weight. These muscles can be scaled from a few millimeters to up to a meter in length.
#4: Robots that can be eaten
They are not dishes that can be eaten. Edible robots are meant to deliver medicine safely at different locations inside the body when ingested. These soft robots were invented by a group of school students from Philadelphia as part of a soft robotics competition.
#5: Robots that can be used as missing extremities
Missing limbs or digital extremities can be replaced by soft robots that are designed to perform all the functions of the missing arm or limb or digital extremities. Soft robots often find a place at the end of prosthetic arms as they enable a more accurate, precise, and a firm grasp of objects.
#6: Cardiac Simulator
In a country like the USA, the probability of developing heart failure in a lifetime is about 20 percent. The current treatment involves the implantation of a ventricular assist device that helps to associate with the wearer’s thromboembolic events, infections, immune system reactions, etc. Now, a bench-top cardiac simulator coupled with a direct cardiac compression device contracts in phase with the wearer’s heartbeat. This soft robot is implanted surrounding the heart and works to compress and relax the heart during the ejection and relaxation phases.
The advantages of soft robots include features that make them safe to use (they do not have sharp edges) and increased flexibility. From medical technologies to distribution and warehouse management, soft robots have use cases across many industries.