Inch By Inch, Machine Leads Soft Robotics To A More Energy Efficient Future

November 14, 2023

ACEE Princeton News: Princeton researchers have developed a flexible, lightweight and energy efficient soft robot that moves without the use of any legs or rotary parts. Instead, the device uses actuators that convert electrical energy into vibrations that allow it to wiggle from point to point using only a single watt.

The device marks a new approach to fabricating and powering soft robots, which rely on flexible rather than rigid bodies to move and carry out tasks. Scientists believe soft robots will be useful in everything from surgery to space exploration, but designing and controlling soft bodies comes with its own engineering challenges that differ from rigid-body robotics.

“Future robotic systems need high energy efficiency,” said Minjie Chen, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and one of the project’s principal investigators. “The eViper platform enables us to explore electrical, mechanical and power co-design to maximize the energy efficiency.” DTI Principal Investigator Minjie Chen worked on Machine Learning for power electronics-enabled power systems for his awarded DTI project.

Read the story here and watch the video below.

Video by Bumper DeJesus and Scott Lyon; cover close-up of eViper soft robot by Bumper DeJesus, for Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University