If Star Wars’ R2-D2 is your idea of a robot, think again. Researchers led by a University of Houston engineer have reported a new class of soft robot, composed of ultrathin sensing, actuating electronics and temperature-sensitive artificial muscle that can adapt to the environment and crawl, similar to the movement of an inchworm or caterpillar.
Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering, said potential applications range from surgery and rehabilitation to search and rescue in natural disasters or on the battlefield. Because the robot body changes shape in response to its surroundings, it can slip through narrow crevices to search for survivors in the rubble left by an earthquake or bombing, he said.
“They sense the change in environment and adapt to slip through,” he said.
These soft robots, made of soft artificial muscle and ultrathin deformable sensors and actuators, have significant advantages over the traditional rigid robots used for automation and other physical tasks.
The researchers said their work, published in the journal Advanced Materials, took its inspiration from nature. “Many creatures, such as inchworms that have completely soft compliant bodies without any rigid components (e.g., bones), exhibit unprecedented abilities in adapting their shapes and morphologies and unique locomotion behaviors,” they wrote.
Traditional soft robots lack the ability to adapt to their environments or move on their own.
The prototype adaptive soft robot includes a liquid crystal elastomer, doped with carbon black nanoparticles to enhance thermal conductivity, as the artificial muscle, combined with ultrathin mesh shaped stretchable thermal actuators and silicon-based light sensors. The thermal actuators provide heat to activate the robot.
The prototype is small – 28.6 millimeters in length, or just over one inch – but Yu said it could easily be scaled up. That’s the next step, along with experimenting with various types of sensors. While the prototype uses heat-sensitive sensors, it could employ smart materials activated by light or other cues, he said.
“This is the first of its kind,” Yu said. “You can use other sensors, depending on what you want it to do.”
The Latest on: Soft robots
via Google News
The Latest on: Soft robots
- Soft robots with sweaty hands and Boeing annual loss: 10 top stories of the weekon January 31, 2020 at 4:40 am
The week after researchers unveiled a technology to make mobile devices ‘sweat’, a team from Cornell University in New York state has revealed a 3D-printed soft robot hand that also cools itself by ...
- Sweating Robot Beats the Heaton January 31, 2020 at 3:47 am
Electronics cannot handle the heat. That is why computers rely on fans, and car engines need radiators. But these cooling devices are necessarily rigid, which makes them a bad fit for soft robots made ...
- New Soft Robot Hands Can ‘Sweat’ To Lower Temperatureon January 30, 2020 at 2:49 pm
Scientists from Cornell University have created a soft robotic hand with the ability to autonomously regulate its internal temperature. Even better, its 3-D printed.
- Robot sweat regulates temperature, key for extreme conditionson January 30, 2020 at 8:21 am
Just when it seemed like robots couldn't get any cooler, researchers have created a soft robot muscle that can regulate its temperature through sweating. Just when it seemed like robots couldn't get ...
- Robot hand keeps itself cool by sweatingon January 30, 2020 at 8:02 am
But not all robots are hard and rigid, some are soft and pliable. And some are a mix of both. Either way, temperature control is an important design consideration. Metal can be incorporated to help ...
- Robot hand 'sweats' to stay coolon January 30, 2020 at 6:27 am
Scientists have created a soft robot muscle that sweats to stay cool and mimics the movement of a hand. The researchers, from Cornell University i n New York, developed the robot hand from ...
- This robot hand can 'sweat' to stay coolon January 30, 2020 at 6:27 am
Cornell researchers have created a soft robot muscle that can regulate its temperature through sweating. The researchers, from Cornell University i n New York, developed the robot hand from ...
- Soft robot sweats autonomously to prevent overheatingon January 29, 2020 at 5:50 pm
Just when it seemed like robots couldn’t get any cooler, Cornell University researchers have created a soft robot muscle that can regulate its temperature through sweating. This form of thermal ...
- These Soft Robots 'Sweat' to Keep Coolon January 29, 2020 at 3:09 pm
An international team of scientists has developed a soft robotic hand that literally perspires in response to excess heat. This innovative concept could improve the durability and endurance of robots, ...
via Bing News