Nintendo-playing robots are here to own you in 'Super Mario Bros.'

Researchers at the University of Maryland combined soft robots and 'Super Mario' in a recent demonstration.

Like Prometheus to the mortals, researchers at the University of Maryland have bestowed upon our fledging robotic kin one of the greatest human gifts of all...

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As part of a study into the use of soft robotics, researchers successfully developed a posable hand that’s agile enough to manipulate a Nintendo controller. The robot appendage was apparently able to complete the first level of Super Mario Bro. in...

90 secs

Not bad for a total n00b.


What separates the hand from other soft robotic creations is the fact that it was created with what researchers call “integrated fluidic circuits” that simplify the number of constituent parts needed to control the robot’s motions.

“Previously, each finger of a soft robotic hand would typically need its own control line, which can limit portability and usefulness. But by 3D printing the soft robotic hand with our integrated ‘fluidic transistors’, it can play Nintendo based on just one pressure input.”

Joshua Hubbard, researcher at Sochol’s Bioinspired Advanced Manufacturing (BAM) Laboratory at UMD

The bot was also 3D printed, saving what would otherwise be a laborious and highly technical process that could take days or weeks according to researchers. Instead, construction of their Nintendo-playing robo-hand took just one day.

Researchers are exploring applications in rehabilitation devices, surgical tools, and customizable prosthetics, where having both agility and a softer touch can be crucial. For now, however, it’s all princesses and mushrooms.

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