A team led by Professor Ryan Sochol designed integrated fluid circuits that can be controlled by water pressure. For example, low pressure was used to move the first finger. Moderate pressure was used to move the second, while high pressure was used to move the third finger. Scientists have managed to program a robotic arm and “teach” it when a character in the game should walk and when to jump. All these actions are performed by adjusting the pressure level.
Testing of design accuracy was done with the help of the Nintendo console and the game Super Mario Bros. Playing leaves little room for error, which makes it a real challenge.
The production of flexible robots is slow and complicated, so scientists have used university printing capabilities. Using PolyJet 3D printing, which allows printing using different materials, the team was able to print different components and assemble them within one day, writes Interesting Engineering.
The robotic arm was controlled by programmed software while playing the game that provided different pressures to keep the fingers pressing the buttons on the controller, and the arm successfully crossed the level in less than 90 seconds.
As a next step, a team of scientists wants to use their research to design prosthetic aids and rehabilitation devices. Also, to help other researchers, a team of scientists publicly shared a design that can be modified for other projects.