Soft valve technology revolutionizes soft robotics

Groundbreaking soft valve technology developed by UNIST researchers is revolutionizing soft robotics, paving the way for electronics-free, autonomous robots capable of operating safely and adaptively in a wide range of environments.
The all-soft valves, made from soft materials and operating without electricity, enable precise and flexible movements, eliminating the need for rigid electronic components. This breakthrough enables the creation of fully soft robots that are safer, more adaptable, and less expensive than traditional robots.
The research team showcased various applications of the soft valve technology, including universal tongs that can delicately pick up fragile items and wearable elbow assist robots that reduce muscle burden.
The soft valve technology is based on a simple yet effective principle: when tension is applied to one end of a tube-shaped structure with a helically wound thread inside, the thread compresses the tube, controlling air inflow and outflow. This accordion-like motion allows for precise and flexible movements without relying on electrical power.
By programming different structures or numbers of threads within the tube, researchers can accurately control airflow variations, enabling customized adjustments to suit specific situations and requirements.
This groundbreaking soft valve technology marks a significant step toward fully soft, electronics-free robots capable of autonomous operation. Such robots could revolutionize numerous industries, from healthcare to manufacturing to logistics, by enhancing safety, adaptability, and efficiency.

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