Members of The Haverford School's Soft Robotics Club published "Design and Characterization of Edible Soft Robotic Candy Actuators" in MRS Advances, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The paper was written and organized by first author Aditya Sardesai (junior). His co-authors were Xavier M. Segel '18, Matthew N. Baumholtz '18, Yiheng Chen (senior), Ruhao Sun (senior), Bram W. Schork (freshman), Richard Buonocore '18, and Kyle O. Wagner '18.
An excerpt from the abstract from the MRS Advances paper reads:
One of the goals of soft robotics is the ability to interface with the human body. Traditionally, silicone materials have dominated the field of soft robotics. In order to shift to materials that are more compatible with the body, developments will have to be made into biodegradable and biocompatible soft robots. This investigation focused on developing gummy actuators which are biodegradable, edible, and tasty. Creating biodegradable and edible actuators can be both sold as an interactive candy product and also inform the design of implantable soft robotic devices.
In April, the students presented at the Materials Research Society (MRS) spring meeting in Arizona. They were the only high school students of 5,000 materials scientists and engineers, and won a Best Poster Award for their work.
In October, their research was awarded first place in the 2017 High School Soft Robotics Design Competition, sponsored by the Soft Robotics Toolkit at Harvard University.
Along with their adviser Holly Golecki (B.S. and M.S. Drexel, M.S. Harvard), the students are looking forward to preparing more of their work for publication in the coming year.