A team of engineering researchers has made a fundamental advance in controlling so-called soft robots, using magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices. The researchers have already created several devices that make use of the new technique.
“By putting these self-assembling chains into soft robots, we are able to have them perform more complex functions while still retaining relatively simple designs,” says Joe Tracy, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University and corresponding author of a paper on the work. “Possible applications for these devices range from remotely triggered pumps for drug delivery to the development of remotely deployable structures.”
The new technique builds on previous work in the field of self-assembling, magnetically actuated composites by Tracy and Orlin Velev, the INVISTA Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State.
For this study, the researchers introduced iron microparticles into a liquid polymer mixture and then applied a magnetic field to induce the microparticles to form parallel chains. The mixture was then dried, leaving behind an elastic polymer thin film embedded with the aligned chains of magnetic particles.
“The chains allow us to manipulate the polymer remotely as a soft robot by controlling a magnetic field that affects the chains of magnetic particles,” Tracy says.
Specifically, the direction of the magnetic field and its strength can be varied. The chains of iron microparticles respond by aligning themselves and the surrounding polymer in the same direction as the applied magnetic field.
Using this technique, the researchers have created three kinds of soft robots. One device is a cantilever that can lift up to 50 times its own weight. The second device is an accordion-like structure that expands and contracts, mimicking the behavior of muscle. The third device is a tube that is designed to function as a peristaltic pump – a compressed section travels down the length of the tube, much like someone squeezing out the last bit of toothpaste by running their finger along the tube.
“We’re now working to improve both the control and the power of these devices, to advance the potential of soft robotics,” Tracy says.
The researchers have also developed a metric for assessing the performance of magnetic lifters, such as the cantilever device.
“We do this by measuring the amount of weight being lifted and taking into account both the mass of particles in the lifter and the strength of the magnetic field being applied,” says Ben Evans, co-author of the paper and an associate professor of physics at Elon University. “We think this is a useful tool for researchers in this area who want to find an empirical way to compare the performance of different devices.”
The Latest on: Soft robots
via Google News
The Latest on: Soft robots
- Researchers built a robot squid that propels itself with a water jeton October 9, 2020 at 10:37 am
To help explore underwater environments without damaging coral or sea life, engineers from UC San Diego created a robot squid (via Hackster.io). Soft robots are less likely to harm aquatic life than ...
- Researchers built Squid Robot that takes pictures of coral and fishon October 9, 2020 at 12:50 am
A group of engineers from the University of California San Diego have created a squid-shaped robot that can swim untethered and propel itself by generating jet streams of water. The robot has its ...
- This Swimming Squid Robot Looks Absolutely Amazingon October 7, 2020 at 11:41 am
A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego have built a squid robot that can propel itself through the water untethered, just like the real thing. “Essentially, we recreated all the ...
- Bizarre underwater ‘squidbot’ is a breakthrough in soft roboticson October 7, 2020 at 6:46 am
An underwater robot nicknamed ‘squidbot’ could form the basis for a new kind of underwater propulsion system. The deep-sea robot sucks water into an on-board pressure chamber and ejects it to move ...
- Swiss Scientists Develop ‘Soft Robot’ That Moves Like a Millipedeon October 6, 2020 at 11:36 am
A team in Switzerland has developed a robot that moves just like a millipede. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology recently unveiled its so-called ‘soft robot,’ which was inspired by millipedes.
- Global Industrial, Enterprise, Military, and Consumer Automation and Robotics Market 2020-2025on October 6, 2020 at 12:49 am
The "Automation and Robotics Market in Industrial, Enterprise, Military, and Consumer Segments by Type, Components, ...
- 9 Soft Skills Every Employee Will Need In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence (AI)on October 5, 2020 at 10:46 pm
Technical skills and data literacy are obviously important in this age of AI, big data, and automation. But that doesn't mean we should ignore the human side of work – skills in areas that robots ...
- Toyota’s new home-assist robots include a butler who will do the dishes for you!on October 2, 2020 at 6:45 pm
Toyota’s Gantry robot is a real superhero for the elderly, but instead of fighting local crimes, he does house chores for them. Designed for the aging demographic that is often forgotten when it comes ...
- Adorable Dinosaur Robots Serve Perfect Ice Cream Coneson October 1, 2020 at 9:40 pm
These new adorable robot dinosaur and dogs from Japan will deliver you a perfect soft serve ice cream cone in just 32 seconds.
via Bing News