Vine Robots are soft continuum robots design with low-cost fabrication in mind and for the navigation of difficult environments. Unlike traditional robots, which move through surface contact to walk or run, the vine robot relies on growth for movement. Much like a vine and other plants, the robot has a grounded root, or “base,” and can continually grow as it expands to add material at its tip.
Vine robots can be easily assembled and programmed by novices while also having the option to perform complex tasks. They allow users to either pre-program or control the growing robot in real-time as it navigates the environment. You can expect the robot to:
- Traverse rough, sticky, and sharp terrain
- Grow 100 times its original length
- Enter gaps one-fourth its original size
- Climb vertically
- Transport fluids
As a result, potential applications for the Vine Robot include search and rescue (such as searching for people in a collapsed building), deployable structures (like helical antennas), and medical procedures.
Here, you will learn how the robot works and how to make your own.