Traditional steel and plastic robots may become a thing of the past. Otherlab, a firm that experiments in creating robots and other breakthrough designs, has been working on what they call the “Ant Roach”, an inflatable robot. Being made out of fabric means less toxic and expensive metals have to be produced. This not only conserves resources, but also reduces the cost, making the robot available to the general public. Though weighing only 70lbs, it can carry up to 1000, making it capable of transporting several people at one time.
Actuators along the joints and legs act as “muscles” that contract when they inflate. Driven by a computer program, the ant-roach can turn, walk, and all sorts of other actions with ease. Otherlab has been using “pneubotics” in other applications, such as an inflatable robotic arm that weighs only two pounds. Developments such as these can lead to better prosthetics, but also more freedom for solar and wind devices, and also greener manufacturing options for traditional technologies.