30 June 2021
Vol 6, Issue 55

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Groundbreaking Soft Robot. Robotic burrowing presents different challenges to robotic walking, swimming, or flying. Burrowing through soil requires subterranean interaction forces to be overcome; these forces can be an order of magnitude higher than air or water. Inspired by burrowing animals such as the southern sand octopus and the sandfish lizard, Naclerio et al. have developed a soft robot that can burrow through shallow dry sand with high speed and maneuverability by leveraging tip extension, granular fluidization, and tip asymmetries. Their robot can travel as fast as 480 cm/s and steer in three dimensions in shallow dry sand. This month's cover is a photograph of the burrowing soft robot emerging from the sand (see also the Focus by Tao). [CREDIT: SICHENG WANG]