Rutgers University-New Brunswick engineers have discovered a simple, economical way to make a nano-sized device that can match the friendly neighborhood Avenger, on a much smaller scale. Their creation weighs 1.6 milligrams (about as much as five poppy seeds) and can lift 265 milligrams (the weight of about 825 poppy seeds) hundreds of times in a row.
Phys.org: Soft robots do a lot of things well but they're not exactly known for their speed. The artificial muscles that move soft robots, called actuators, tend to rely on hydraulics or pneumatics, which are slow to respond and difficult to store.
Dielectric elastomers, soft materials that have good insulating properties, could offer an alternative to pneumatic actuators but they currently require complex and inefficient circuitry to deliver high voltage as well as rigid components to maintain their form—both of which defeat the purpose of a soft robot.
Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a dielectric elastomer with a broad range of motion that requires relatively low voltage and no rigid components. They published their work recently in Advanced Materials. Cont'd...
Simpler, stronger, and more precise. ATI Industrial Automation has developed a series of Manual Tool Changers that provides a cost-effective solution for quickly changing tools by hand. They feature a unique design that combines high strength, excellent repeatability, and a patent-pending screw-cam locking mechanism with multiple fail-safe features, which resists vibration and prevents loosening. These robust and compact Manual Tool Changers can handle payloads up to 80 pounds (36 kg) and pass pneumatics and electrical signals.