Bioinspired robotics: the encounter between machines and nature
25 October 2019 | Written by Alberto Laratro
With Cecilia Laschi to discover the world of robotics inspired by plants and soft robots
Try to imagine a robot. You will probably think of the image of a tin man, all mechanisms and gears, a bit like Bender of Futurama, or as C-3PO of Star Wars. While research goes in that direction, just think of the humanoid robots of Boston Dynamics, there are other lines of research that explore different materials and shapes, taking inspiration from nature. We deepened this world with Cecilia Laschi, professor of Industrial Bioengineering at the BioRobotics Institute of the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, has carried out and carries out research in the field of humanoid robotics, in particular with the application of neuroscientific models on robots.
Soft robotics and bioinspired robotics are two areas that Cecilia Laschi studies time. Soft robots, or “soft” robots, are those machines whose body is not composed of metal or plastic (or at least not solely) but of flexible materials such as silicone. This is a promising sector that Laschi has contributed to developing internationally.
Bio-inspired robotics. As the name suggests, this branch of robotics seeks to exploit the billions of years of evolution that nature has had to perfect its “machines”, to steal the most functional design depending on the purpose of the robot you want to build. Robots that take inspiration from plants and animals, to copy their movements, shapes and abilities.
Watch the video interview: