A soft robotic gripper capable of handling and manipulating individual droplets of liquid has been developed by a team of researchers from North Carolina State University.

The lightweight robotic grippers — composed of adhesive tape and nylon fibers and powered by electrically activated artificial muscles — was treated with a super-omniphobic coating that resists most liquid types even in dynamic environments where the liquid is moving or tilting.

Source: North Carolina State UniversitySource: North Carolina State University

The result of this combination, according to the researchers, is a robotic gripper capable of handling individual droplets of liquid without disrupting surface tension.

The soft robotic gripper can reportedly grasp, transport and release individual droplets, making the device appropriate for cleaning up liquid spills and potentially handling toxic liquids and other hazards without risk to humans.

For more information on the soft robotic gripper, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of North Carolina State University.

The study, On-demand, remote and lossless manipulation of biofluid droplets, appears in the journal Materials Horizons.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com