This tiny spider-shaped robot could be used for endoscopy and microsurgery in the future.
Developed by researchers at the Wyss Institute, Harvard and Boston University, the soft robotic peacock spider is made only of silicone rubber and manufactured at a millimetre scale. It mimics the peacock spider, which is known for its ability to move and show colours.
Join us on our LinkedIn Page
Its movements are controlled by inserting a phase-changing material like UV-curable resin, which can be injected as a liquid and hardens when exposed to UV light. Different networks of the microfluidic actuators of the robot can be filled with the dyed water.
It uses a soft material microfabrication method with 12 layers that give the soft robot 18 degrees of freedom compared to only one degree of freedom seen in the smallest soft robotic systems. This means it can encompass 18 particular changes in shape or types of movement.
The origami-inspired robot goes beyond what existing approaches can achieve at the micrometre range and the technology can be used to design soft robotic devices with application in microsurgery and endoscopy as well as wearable devices.