GALLIUM | Robots have traditionally
been thought of as rigid, hard systems.
Transformers. The Terminator.
Roomba home vacuum systems. New
technologies by Rebecca Kramer could
change that thinking forever.
Kramer, an assistant professor of
mechanical engineering and a Forbes
30 under 30 recipient for 2015, is a
pioneer in soft robotics. It’s a field that’s
developing both flexible robots — for
performing surgeries and slinking into
tight cracks during search-and-rescue
missions — and wearable technology,
such as biometric shirts that measure
heart rate and respiration.
In order for soft robotics to be produced
on a commercial scale, companies need
practical manufacturing techniques.
With the help of a custom 3D printer,
Kramer and her team have created
a fabrication method that embeds a
gallium-indium liquid alloy inside a
rubber-like polymer, forming a network
Better, Flexible, Wearable
For more information on the Faboratory, visit
“Soft robotics is such a new concept,
but the field has really taken off within
the last decade,” says Kramer. “All
the components that make up a soft
robotic system really don’t exist yet.
The Faboratory is part of a small but
emerging community that is trying to
create these new technologies from the
ground up.” | S.A.
PHO TOS B Y VINCEN T WALTER