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CBES: Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science


Scientific Achievement

The excellent strength-to-weight ratio of polypropylene tubing enables construction of exoskeletons inspired by spiders, ants, and water striders.



A six-legged arthrobot on water

Significance and Impact

Inspired by nature, arthrobots combine mechanical compliance, lightweight and simple construction, and inexpensive yet scalable design.

Research Details

  • Constructed using polypropylene tubing (drinking straws) and elastomeric tubing.
  • Designed to be nimble, an Arduino microcontroller and valves control gait.
  • Arthrobots are “cooperative” systems that are well-suited for safe robot-human interaction.


Nemiroski, A., Shevchenko, Y.Y., Stokes, A.A., Unal, B., Ainla, A., Albert, S., Compton, G., MacDonald, E., Schwab, Y., Zellhofer, C., Whitesides, G.M.
Soft Robotics 4, 2017, 183-190.

Work Performed at Harvard University