The soft robot is capable of functioning for several hours using a battery pack or for longer periods with a light-weight electrical tether, and able to carry payloads of up to 8 kg.
The robot has been designed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including those from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, at Harvard University, and the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University.
Robots intended for use outside of laboratory environments should be able to operate without the constraint of a tether; this is especially true for robots intended to perform demanding tasks in challenging environments (for example, for search and rescue applications in unstable rubble), researchers said.
"We have developed composite soft materials, a mechanical design, and a fabrication method that enable the untethered operation of a soft robot without any rigid structural components," researchers said.
The details of the robot have been described in the journal Soft Robotics.