Harvard University just open sourced its Soft Robotics Toolkit
Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin have just launched a pioneering initiative to open source Soft Robotics Toolkit to help researchers, engineers and robotics enthusiasts to model, design, build and operate robots made from soft and flexible materials.
Their mission as stated int heir official news blog is:
Using principles drawn from conventional rigid robot design, but working with pliable materials, engineers are pioneering the use of soft robotics for assisting in a wide variety of tasks such as physical therapy, minimally invasive surgery, and search and rescue operations in dangerous environments.
The toolkit allows and assists robotics enthusiasts and engineers access to a huge and growing collection of 3D modes, “open source plans, how to videos, case studies” that will assist and guide them in jump staring the design and fabrication of exciting new flexible robots.”
“Open design can have as disruptive an influence on technology development in this century as open source did in the last,” says Gareth J. Bennett, assistant professor of mechanical and manufacturing engineering at Trinity College Dublin
This is truly a ground breaking development for open designing and sourcing for the general good. After all, we are living in the age of “Internet of Things” where devices like Raspberry Pi, Arduino boards, embedded computers and modular phones are springing up and acting as a catalyst for innovation. Imagine a Raspberry Pi controlled robot build on this kit communicating with Arduino controlled medical device to do an invasive surgery on a human being.
Or think of such robots performing rescue operations within the rubble of a collapsed building making autonomous decisions and sending back live reports.
The opportunities are unfathomable and applications too many to count.