Today, Science published our paper “A 3D Printed, Functionally Graded Soft Robot Powered by Combustion” in which we introduce a jumping three-legged mechanical critter with a squishy exterior and a rigid interior that is more durable, safe, and adaptable than the strictly rigid variety. Printing a single robot comprised of multiple materials offers many advantages over traditional building techniques, opening doors to even more mechanically intricate designs.
Looking forward, these robots could help carry out challenging tasks like maneuvering disaster sites, or even space exploration. In unpredictable terrain, like on Mars or the moon, the resilience and mobility of the robot would be a huge advantage. Plus, in low gravity imagine how high it would jump.