Soft robotics are fast becoming the latest major development in creating realistic robots, using pliable materials like silicone to simulate lifelike movement and something truer to the touch. And here “major” is the operative word, as an engineer who’s been dabbling in ‘soft-body’ technology has been influenced by Ghost in the Shell.
The famous octobot might have got the wiggle down, but Takuya Umedachi from the University of Tokyo has taken things a step further, building a bot that can actually be controlled. Using a device similar to a video game controller, you can see Umedachi’s creation pull some moves in a video by Sean Cardeno for Tokyo Otaku Mode.
Umedachi is as much inspired by nature as anime, growing up with a fascination for all kinds of living things, including single-celled organisms like amoeba. His 3D printed critters are still in the embryonic stages, and Umedachi feels he’s far from making a human face. But even so, he’s sure that’s an accomplishment to come, at which point any number of applications could be possible.