For years we all assumed that robots and artificial creatures had to be made of metal and other rigid materials. But there’s now a movement to create soft, squishy bots that use unorthodox power sources like compressed air, and, believe it or not, literal explosions.
Researchers at Harvard University created this three-legged silicone robot that’s fed a mixture of methane and oxygen through a series of internal tubes. When a spark is applied the gases ignite and the pressure that’s created is used to actuate the legs and launch the robot into the air.
In fact, the researchers believe its jumping capabilities are actually limited by the size of their research lab. So when used out in the field for applications like exploration, the robot could easily make leaps twice as higher as observed in their experiments. [Wiley Online Library via NewScientist]