Soft materials are great at damping energy — that’s why rubber tires are so good at absorbing the shock of bumps and potholes. But if researchers are going to build autonomous soft systems, like soft robots, they’ll need a way to transmit energy through soft materials.
Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, have developed a way to send mechanical signals through soft materials.
The research is described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Soft autonomous systems have received a lot of attention because, just like the human body or other biological systems, they can be adaptive and perform delicate movements. However, the highly dissipative nature of soft materials limits or altogether prevents certain functions,” said Jordan Raney, postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper. “By storing energy in the architecture itself we can make up for the energy losses due to dissipation, allowing the propagation of mechanical signals across long distances.”
The system uses the centuries-old concept of bistable beams — structures stable in two distinct state — to store and release elastic energy along the path of a wave. The system consists of a chain of bistable elastomeric beams connected by elastomeric linear springs. When those beams are deformed, they snap and store energy in the form of elastic deformation. As the signal moves down the elastomer, it snaps the beams back into place, releasing the stored energy and sending the signal downstream like a line of dominos. The bistable system prevents the signal from dissipating downstream.
“This design solves two fundamental problems in transmitting information through materials,” said Katia Bertoldi, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences at SEAS and senior author of the paper. “It not only overcomes dissipation, but it also eliminates dispersive effects, so that the signal propagates without distortion. As such, we maintain signal strength and clarity from start to end.”
The beam geometry requires precise fabrication techniques. If the angle or thickness of one beam is off by one degree or millimeter, the whole system fails.
The team used advanced 3D printing techniques to fabricate the system.
“We’re developing new materials and printing methods that enable the fabrication of soft materials with programmable bistable elements,” said Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering and coauthor of the paper.
The team designed and printed a soft logic gate using this system. The gate, which looks like a tuning fork, can be controlled to act as either as an AND or as an OR gate.
“It’s amazing what you can do using simple beams — a building block that’s been around hundreds of years,” said Bertoldi. “You can do new stuff with a very old, well studied and very simple component.”
Learn more: Transmitting energy in soft materials
The Latest on: Autonomous soft systems
[google_news title=”” keyword=”autonomous soft systems” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Autonomous soft systems
- Decade-old Apple Car project may be completely deadon February 28, 2024 at 3:02 am
A report on Tuesday claims that Apple's long-running car project also known as "Project Titan" has been killed.
- Toyota's new soft humanoid picks things up with its whole bodyon February 28, 2024 at 12:15 am
Most humanoid robots pick things up with their hands – but that's not how we humans do it, particularly when we're carrying something bulky. We use our chests, hips and arms as well – and that's the ...
- Odysseus lander takes a sideways seat on the moon, but is very much aliveon February 23, 2024 at 4:32 pm
The Odysseus spacecraft soft-landed sideways on the moon. Intuitive Machines says the lander caught an obstruction during touchdown. Images from the spacecraft are expected next week.
- Odysseus lander works to accomplish mission after touching down on moonon February 23, 2024 at 1:29 pm
Now that the first American craft to land on the moon in more than 50 years is sending signals, the exchange of data won’t be easy.
- Odysseus Lander Touches Down on the Moonon February 22, 2024 at 8:36 pm
Intuitive Machines landed its Odysseus spacecraft on the Moon on Thursday at 6:23 p.m. ET, becoming the first private company to pull off a soft landing on the lunar surface.
- 2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten Interior Review: The Fanciest Damn Pickup Truck Ever?on February 21, 2024 at 9:00 pm
With a starting price of $89,150, the 2025 Ram 1500 Tungsten is more expensive than the 2024 Ford F-150 Limited ($86,905) and 2024 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate ($84,990). Driving the 2025 Ram 1500 ...
- Researchers Develop Light-Responsive Material for Soft Robotson February 19, 2024 at 8:43 am
Researchers have designed a new, 3D-printable, light-responsive material that can be used to make machines that move without any electronics.
- Navigating Trucking Recruitment Challenges Amid Economic Fluctuationson February 16, 2024 at 3:30 am
I would like to investigate the factors influencing the trucking industry and discuss some strategies that can help you build a resilient and future-ready workforce.
- Are shape-shifting 'soft machines' in our future? Scientists advance light-responsive materialon February 12, 2024 at 10:21 am
New control systems and computer algorithms also could enable soft machines to move and interact with their environment in a more intelligent and autonomous way, they said. Cook said the team is ...
- 3D-printed pneumatic modules replace electric controls in soft robotson January 31, 2024 at 4:00 pm
These soft robots could be used in terrain that ... Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS)" has published its results in the journal Science Robotics. "Our design makes it ...
via Bing News