FLXO is a thinking tool for soft-robotics exploration. It's a kit consisting of modular interlocking pneumatic muscles which easily integrate with other robotics kits on the market. At present it's designed to integrate with the VeX robotics platform.
Contrary to conventional robotics which employ rigid materials like metals and hard plastics, pneumatically or hydraulically actuated soft-robots are squishy and highly adaptive to their surroundings. This makes them safe and ideal for collaborative work with humans and other organic life.
Soft-robotics is an exciting and emerging field with a radically different approach to robotics, combining biomimetics and unconventional materials. This field is still in its infancy and there is yet a lot to be discovered and invented. There isn't enough accessible literature and documentation on the subject and a large part of the exploration takes place in well-funded research labs. At present anyone who wants to tinker with soft robotics needs to go through the tedious process of design, fabrication and material sourcing. This creates a bottle neck in open exploration of this technology.
Flxo is an effort to address this need by democratizing key concepts in soft robotics. Flxo consists of prefabricated soft actuators, entirely 3D printed on a conventional desktop 3D printer, which can easily be integrated into the VeX robotics kit to build several different mechanisms.
Shown below are the 4 different soft actuators or pneumatic muscles. These are the basic building blocks which form an engine for a given mechanism.
90 degree Twist + Linear actuator
45 degree Twist + Linear actuator
The VeX robotics pieces easily snap into the soft actuators enabling rapid prototyping of hybrid soft and rigid robotics and mechanisms. Below I've showcased some of my own examples of what is easily possible with this kit.