Researchers from the Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu in Estonia and the Italian Institute of Technology have created a soft robot leg inspired by the cucumber spider.

The soft robot, which is roughly the size of a fingernail and is composed of a light-curing resin exoskeleton and an artificial muscle made of polypyrrole, is reportedly activated by an electrical signal. Further, the exoskeleton features an electrolyte solution, which surrounds a tendon made of resin and an electroactive polymer artificial muscle.

Source: Tartu University/Italian Institute of TechnologySource: Tartu University/Italian Institute of Technology

According to its developers, the liquid encourages the exoskeleton to be more flexible and the leg reportedly moves due to the change in the shape of the polymer.

During tests in the lab, the new soft robot touched assorted delicate objects — specifically a primrose stamen, spider web and pollen grain — without damaging them.

The researchers suggest that the soft robots will be able to operate in places where humans cannot, such as inside a person as a nanorobot during surgery or to search for survivors in a disaster area.

An article detailing the robotic leg, “A Spider Leg‐Inspired mm‐Scale Soft Exoskeleton Enabled by Liquid via Hydration and Charge Transport,” appears in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

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