Soft robots have gotten even softer with the invention of the V-SPA modular, vacuum-powered soft robot.
Soft robots are popular because they are safer for use around humans than their rigid counterparts.
The vacuum-powered Soft Pneumatic Actuator (V-SPA) offers a new way to propel soft robots without the need for stiff actuators and motors. Inspired by the natural activity of muscles, the modules consist of three pillars made of foam and silicon rubber layered between small panels. A single vacuum pump inflates or deflates the pillars, triggering the module to bend and propel the robot forward, or even activate suction cups so it can climb or pick up objects.