Pump powers soft robots, makes cocktails

Over the past several years, researchers have been developing soft analogues of traditionally rigid robotic components. In fluid-driven robotic systems, pumps control the pressure or flow of the liquid that powers the robot’s movement. Most pumps available today for soft robotics are either too large and rigid to fit onboard, not powerful enough for actuation or only work with specific fluids. Researchers have now developed a compact, soft pump with adjustable pressure flow versatile enough to pump a variety of fluids with varying viscosity, including gin, juice, and coconut milk, and powerful enough to power soft haptic devices and a soft robotic finger.