Design and Technology KS3/4: What is soft robotics?

We see how engineers are taking inspirational from animals to develop new robot structures.

By looking at worms, elephants' trunks and octopuses' tentacles, engineers are developing robots with softer, more natural limbs, rather than the traditional stiff skeletal ones.

Fran Scott visits the engineering department at the University of Nottingham.

Pneumatics enables robots to grip more accurately, to be able to travel over rough terrain, and to withstand any forceful impacts.

An easy-to-build simulation of the soft robotic arm is demonstrated to guide students in their own experiments.

The soft robot is shown in action working across different terrains and with different objects.

The safety implication of using a lightweight object is presented.

Teacher Notes

Discuss how big an influence nature can be in design - could pupils come up with their own concepts inspired by nature?

Curriculum Notes

This topic appears in AQA, OCR, EDEXCEL, EDUQAS, WJEC GCSE in England and Wales, and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 5 in Scotland.

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