Untethered robots suffer from a stamina problem. A possible solution: a circulating liquid – “robot blood” – to store energy and power its applications for sophisticated, long-duration tasks.
Humans and other complex organisms manage life through integrated systems. Humans store energy in fat reserves spread across the body, and an intricate circulatory system transports oxygen and nutrients to power trillions of cells.
But crack open the hood of an untethered robot and things are much more segmented: Over here is the solid battery and over there are the motors, with cooling systems and other components scattered throughout.
Cornell researchers have created a synthetic vascular system capable of pumping an energy-dense hydraulic liquid that stores energy, transmits force, operates appendages and provides structure, all in an integrated design.
“In nature we see how long organisms can operate while doing sophisticated tasks. Robots can’t perform similar feats for very long,” said Rob Shepherd, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. “Our bio-inspired approach can dramatically increase the system’s energy density while allowing soft robots to remain mobile for far longer.”
Shepherd, director of the Organic Robotics Lab, is senior author of “Electrolytic Vascular Systems for Energy Dense Robots,” which published June 19 in Nature. Doctoral student Cameron Aubin is lead author.
Engineers rely on lithium-ion batteries for their dense energy-storage potential. But solid batteries are bulky and present design constraints. Alternatively, redox flow batteries (RFB) rely on a solid anode and highly soluble catholyte to function. The dissolved components store energy until it is released in a chemical reduction and oxidation, or redox, reaction.
Soft robots are mostly fluid – up to around 90% fluid by volume, and many times use hydraulic liquid. Using that fluid to store energy offers the possibility of increased energy density without added weight.
The researchers tested the concept by creating an aquatic soft robot inspired by a lionfish, designed by co-author James Pikul, a former postdoctoral researcher now an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Lionfish use undulating fanlike fins to glide through coral-reef environments (In one sacrifice to verisimilitude, the researchers opted not to add venomous fins like the robots’ living counterparts).
Silicone skin on the outside and flexible electrodes and an ion separator membrane within allow the robot to bend and flex. Interconnected zinc-iodide flow cell batteries power onboard pumps and electronics through electrochemical reactions. The researchers achieved energy density equal to about half that of a Tesla Model S lithium-ion battery.
The robot swims using power transmitted to the fins from the pumping of the flow cell battery. The initial design provided enough power to swim upstream for more than 36 hours.
Current RFB technology is typically used in large, stationary applications, such as storing energy from wind and solar sources. RFB design has historically suffered from low power density and operating voltage. The researchers overcame those issues by wiring the fan battery cells in series, and maximized power density by distributing electrodes throughout the fin areas.
“We want to take as many components in a robot and turn them into the energy system. If you have hydraulic liquids in your robot already, then you can tap into large stores of energy and give robots increased freedom to operate autonomously,” Shepherd said.
Underwater soft robots offer tantalizing possibilities for research and exploration. Since aquatic soft robots are supported by buoyancy, they don’t require an exoskeleton or endoskeleton to maintain structure. By designing power sources that give robots the ability to function for longer stretches of time, Shepherd thinks autonomous robots could soon be roaming Earth’s oceans on vital scientific missions and for delicate environmental tasks like sampling coral reefs. These devices could also be sent to extraterrestrial worlds for underwater reconnaissance missions.
Learn more: Robot circulatory system powers possibilities
The Latest on: Robot blood
via Google News
The Latest on: Robot blood
- Robots redefine diagnosis and treatment in Bahrainon May 27, 2020 at 1:23 am
Meanwhile, the Robot Infirmiere Nurse Robot also distributes medication and meals while also having the ability to be equipped with modern medical devices such as ventilators, ECG and blood pressure ...
- Covid-19 Makes the Case for More Meatpacking Robotson May 25, 2020 at 4:00 am
The coronavirus has hit meat processing plants hard. But not in Denmark, where automation makes for safer slaughterhouses.
- Surgical Robots Market to Set Phenomenal Growth Top Companies, Demand, Opportunity, Business Strategies Forecast by 2025on May 21, 2020 at 11:48 pm
Selbyville, Delaware, The latest report on Surgical Robots Market as Added by Market Study Report, LLC, offers comprehensive details on industry size, regional spectrum, and revenue estimates of the ...
- Robotic white blood cells crawl against the current to deliver drugson May 21, 2020 at 10:46 pm
In the future, many diseases may be treated by tiny robots swimming through the bloodstream, delivering drugs. The latest test of these kinds of medical machines comes from researchers at the Max ...
- Scientists Disguise Cancer-Hunting Nanorobots as Blood Cellson May 21, 2020 at 11:16 am
"Our vision was to create the next-generation vehicle for minimally invasive targeted drug delivery that can reach even deeper tissues inside the body with even more difficult access routes than what ...
- Scientists test microscopic glass robots to target cancer cellson May 21, 2020 at 10:15 am
Microscopic robots made from glass and gold that are able to move against the flow of blood are being developed to help deliver chemotherapy drugs fighting cancer cells. Scientists are building the ...
- UV-C Disinfection Robots Market Worth $5.57 Billion, Globally, by 2027 at 32.62% CAGR: Verified Market Researchon May 21, 2020 at 7:00 am
Verified Market Research recently published a report, "UV-C Disinfection Robots Market by Type (Portable Type, Stationary Type), by ...
- Tiny robots can travel through rushing blood to deliver drugson May 20, 2020 at 11:11 am
Robots smaller than a red blood cell can move against the flow of blood when directed by magnets, which could help deliver drugs directly to cancer cells ...
- How Trust In Robots Can Help Us Fight The Next Pandemicon May 20, 2020 at 10:26 am
These six robots constantly monitor ICU patients on ventilators at the northern Italy hospital, measuring oxygen levels and blood pressure. They’ve freed up time — as well as safety masks and other ...
- Robots are demonstrating one HUGE advantage through the pandemic - they don’t get sickon May 18, 2020 at 6:55 am
Robots were on a charge before the virus struck, now they’re even more valuedThe range of tasks they can be put to is probably infinite But despite all their ...
via Bing News