The field of soft robotics science has yielded human muscle mimicry that could prove to be therapeutically useful in the future.
While the idea of robots evokes images of immobile, lightning quick and efficacious devices that copy human behavior, research has advanced to the level where there is the wonderful field of soft robotics today.
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This science is world’s apart from normal run-of-the-mill robotics. These soft robots are fueled by muscle-copying actuators. They can be used to help the human body move with ease and efficiency.
The fake muscles are composed of elastomers which have silicon and rubber in them. Thus they are a secure device to employ for physiotherapy. The changes in air pressure in various soft balloons in them cause these robotic muscles to move.
The mechanical robotic behavior has been streamlined and given a smooth-as-silk repertoire in its functions. The possible applications of this cutting edge technology include: patient rehabilitation, the handling of precious and fragile stuff, biomemetic schemes and residential care.
The robotic design is mainly concerned with safety. While big, metallic, heavy and mechanical exoskeletons may prove to be a hazard, these soft robotics are very secure and cushy.
A series of modules which rely on small spaces and inter-layered chambers cause the movements to take place in a plain sailing fashion. The cylindrical and spherical actuators can reach their elastic limit which is five or six times their original status. They bend in double directions too.
Several simulations were carried out. A model was constructed to predict how the actuators get out of shape due to their form, width and material base. A heavy duty paper cover that is manufactured in origami-like manner is applied to the outer side of the actuators.
Widely different materials could be employed in this repertoire. While elastomer materials are strong to begin with, they are very hard to fully control. Their deformations need to be overseen with razor-sharp and laser-like focus.
These soft robots are manufactured in a cinch but they are not easy to manipulate. Soft robotics also deals in the field of medicine. Therefore rehabilitation belts are a common item on the list of production-based wonders.
All these objects will immensely help in the sub-field of physical therapy. The really miraculous thing is that this is not where the whole process stops. This treasure trove of a field will continue to yield even more surprises as the future beckons us towards itself.
The findings of this study has just been published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.