At the University of North Carolina has developed a movement technology for soft robots of the new generation. It greatly expands the speed range of such machines, which speed has never been. The secret of a novelty copied from cheetahs bistable position of the body during movement.
The fastest running animal on the planet, the Cheetah, has a lot of secrets to achieving unprecedented speeds, one of which – the double position of the spine. It acts as a flexible beam, which is compressed and takes the shape of an arc, and then rectified and even curves in the opposite direction. In the first state, the legs of the animal touch the ground, but when going to the second is the release of energy and Cheetah podmigivaet in the air, pushing off the ground and breaking the grip with it.
This is a critical moment – the robot receives much less contact with the surface, he doesn’t need to constantly overcome the force of friction, as a way to soft machines, which in fact creep on the earth. The robot Cheetah jumps on her, and in motion it causes the air that is blown into the flexible body cavity. But, unlike the old structures, the bistable system does not have intermediate States, so long as other soft robots to inflate and deflate, the robot Cheetah playfully changes the shape of the body and moving forward.
Previously the speed limit for soft robots amounted to 0.8 body lengths per second, and the robot Cheetah sprints up to 2.7 body lengths per second. It works with rate 3 Hz and due to its manner of movement is much easier to overcome the steep slopes. Even when the motion of the water performance 0.08 body lengths per second than any other competitors. The authors believe they will be able to disperse soft robot even faster, because it is simply replicated the bistable mechanism and not worked purposefully over the chassis.