cylonlover writes: Most robots are built out of rigid materials, but a DARPA initiative to build soft-bodied robots that can squeeze into hard-to-reach places has led to the development of new types of the mechanical marvels. Harvard's Whitesides Research Group is working on a soft-bodied solution and has produced a squishy three-legged bot that can jump 30 times its height using the power of internal explosions. Embedded pneumatic networks in the robot – channels that course like veins throughout the robot's elastomer body – were fed a mixture of oxygen and methane which – when ignited with an electrical spark – results in an explosion that sends the robot flying into the air. By actuating all three legs simultaneously the team succeeded in getting the robot to leap more than 30 times its height.
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