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Scientists have achieved a groundbreaking milestone by developing a robotic hand that has ligaments, tendons, and bones through advanced 3D printing. This innovative feat in soft robotics utilizes a unique integration of 3D printing, laser scanning, and a feedback loop, marking a significant advancement in the field.

Scientists create robotic hand using slow-curing plastics

A US startup is advancing 3D printing technology, enabling on-demand production of intricate objects. This innovation surpasses conventional fast-curing plastics by incorporating slow-curing plastics with superior elasticity, robustness, and durability.

Scientists at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and the startup company have collaborated to develop a groundbreaking technique for constructing durable robots using advanced materials. This innovative process allows for the creation of complex robotic structures in one step.

This technology streamlines the mixing of materials varying in softness and rigidity, enabling the creation of intricate structures and components featuring internal cavities to meet specific criteria.

Scientists from ETH Zurich have developed a new method to print a robotic hand with polymer-based bones, tendons and ligaments in a single operation. The team used slow-curing thiolene polymers with excellent elastic properties, which return to their original state much faster after bending than the fast-curing polyacrylates used in 3D printing so far. This innovative approach shows promise for creating more complex and functional 3D printed objects in the future.

Thiolene polymers offer accurate hardness adjustment

Thiolene polymers, ideal for crafting elastic ligaments in soft robotics, offer precise hardness adjustment. Researchers highlight the advantages of soft material robots, like a developed hand, over traditional metal counterparts, emphasizing reduced injury risk when working with humans and enhanced handling of fragile items.

Researchers have enhanced the traditional 3D printing process by integrating a 3D laser scanner to detect surface anomalies in each layer. This advancement allows for the incorporation of slow-curing polymers. The system employs a feedback mechanism that compensates for irregularities in real-time by calculating precise adjustments to the material volume for the next layer. Co-author Prof. Wojciech Matusik from MIT explains the process, emphasizing its accuracy and real-time adjustments.