The team from Harvard reiterates that the bricks should not be confused with a famous brand that's known for manufacturing hard plastic building blocks. In fact, click-e-bricks are flexible, stretchy, bendable and inflatable. The bricks can be blown up to look like little balloons and "then return to their original shape."

George Whitesides together with his team coming from Harvard University had developed a unique line of soft robots that are made up of flexible plastic materials and air-powered. When bricks are pliable and stick together just like Lego, they could be the ultimate framework for advanced robotics.

The soft robots come in several varieties which would range from limbo-dancing squid to bendy tentacles. Each robot was made using specialized moulds. Later on, the team realized that they can add creativity if they would use building blocks.

Having Lego as their inspiration, the team made use of a 3D type of printer in order to build a mould that would help form a brick with 6 by 9 dimension. The mould is then filled with a flexible variety of plastic. Since the material is amazingly soft, the team could easily cut bricks of varying sizes coming from one mould with the use of a razor blade. They described their unique creation as click-fit elastomeric bricks, otherwise known as "click-e-bricks."

The impressive Whitesides Group Research has dealt with the creation of a new group of "amazingly soft" robot-like structures which took into great account the materials and required methods for the robots' fabrication. The team behind the research is optimistic that their work would bring great opportunities for several collaborations that would involve robotics, science on soft materials, and organic chemistry. They even added that their designs utilize channels of network in elastomers which can be inflated to form the shape of balloons. Their work revolves around the EPN methodology which can enable huge amplitude actuation when applied on soft elastomers. The whole process would require adding pressure to embedded channels.

"The ability of soft robots to climb onto textured surfaces and irregular shapes, crawl along wires and ropes, and burrow into complex, confined spaces will take them to places the hard robots of today can't venture," said Forbes. These robots can be very useful in the biomedical field. They could play an important role in surgeries. They can also aid victims in dangerous situations by easily crawling into the scene. Forbes observed how the scientists explored the deformable character and fluidity of animals such as the lizards and starfish.

The study on click-e-bricks had been web-published in Applied Materials.

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