Answer: Coffee grounds.
As it turns out, coffee doesn’t just make humans work better — it can also improve efficiency for our artificial counterparts.
A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego found that they could make it easier for a robot to walk on uneven ground if they gave it soft feet filled with coffee grounds. On each foot of their robot, they attached a flexible latex sphere filled with dry coffee grounds and reinforced with an internal support structure designed like the roots of a plant.
When the robot takes a step, the coffee grounds are jammed together around the shape of whatever is being stepped on, a phenomenon known as “granular jamming.” The team found that a hexapod robot with these coffee-filled feet was able to move 40 percent faster on wood chips and pebbles than it could with its normal feet.
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