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Autodesk Story: Otherlab

About Otherlab

Otherlab is a private research and development company working on future technologies, one of these being soft robotics. The soft robotics team at Otherlab is dedicated to creating robust, low-cost fluidic robots that operate in environments as extreme as deep water, outer space, and everything in between. Their goal is to build robots with human scale dexterous manipulation for direct replacement of human labor in hazardous environments.

Otherlab uses pneumatic and hydraulic actuators to drive robotic motion. Since soft robotics is still an emerging field, their robots are mostly made from custom components designed in-house. The materials used to make these robots differ from traditional robots, they are mostly made of plastics, fabrics, and rubbers. This requires developing new manufacturing processes. Because this is a new form of robotics—from code to machined parts—Otherlab is creating everything from the ground up.

Otherlab: What They’re Creating at The Autodesk Technology Center

Otherlab is working with an Autodesk Research group on a project to see if robot design can be informed algorithmically by a workspace. Being at the Autodesk Technology Center has allowed Otherlab to rapidly prototype components, accelerating their soft robotics research and development. Otherlab uses Fusion 360 modeling and CAM software to create and process their models, and they use the DATRON neo to get high-quality and precision metal prototypes turned around quickly. They also use 3D printing for some of their pneumatic control components.

Why Bring Rapid Prototyping In-House?

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