Robots as inconspicuous as they are ubiquitous represent the vision of researchers in the new and burgeoning field of material robotics.
In an invited perspective paper published today in Science Robotics, Oregon State University researcher Yi?it Mengüç and three co-authors argue against looking at robotics as a “dichotomy of brain versus body.”
Mengüç and collaborators from the University of Colorado, Yale University and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne take a view that seeks to dissolve the basic assumption that robots are either “machines that run bits of code” or “software ‘bots’ interacting with the world through a physical instrument.”
“We take a third path: one that imbues intelligence into the very matter of a robot,” said Mengüç, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in OSU’s College of Engineering and part of the college’s Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute. “The future we’re dreaming of is one of material-enabled robotics, something akin to robots themselves being integrated into day-to-day objects.”
Such as footwear, for example.
“Shoes that are able to intelligently support your gait, change stiffness as you’re running or walking, or based upon the surface you’re on or the biomechanics of your foot,” Mengüç said. “That’s one potential product. Examples of that kind of material intelligence abound in nature, where complex functionality results from systems of simple materials.
“The point here with something like a self-adjusting shoe is it no longer resembles a robot – that’s kind of the direction of ubiquity we’re imagining.”
Mengüç notes that as technology becomes more capable it tends to follow a pattern of disappearing into the background of everyday life.
“Take smartphones,” he said. “Autocorrect, a very small and impoverished version of artificial intelligence, is ubiquitous.
“In the future, your smartphone may be made from stretchable, foldable material so there’s no danger of it shattering. Or it might have some actuation, where it changes shape in your hand to help with the display, or it can be able to communicate something about what you’re observing on the screen. What I would see as success for material robotics is where the technology we make is not static anymore – all these bits and pieces of technology that we take for granted in life will be living, physically responsive things, moving, changing shape in response to our needs, not just flat, static screens.”
At present, the authors note, two distinct approaches remain for creating composite materials that match the complexity of functional biological tissue: new materials synthesis and system-level integration of material components.
Materials scientists are developing new bulk materials with the inherent multifunctionality required for robotic applications, while roboticists are working on new material systems with tightly integrated components.
“The convergence of these approaches will ultimately yield the next generation of material-enabled robots,” Mengüç said. “It’s a natural partnership that will lead to robots with brains in their bodies – inexpensive and ever-present robots integrated into the real world.”
The Latest on: Material robotics
- Experts Discuss Heterostructure Engineering for Quantum Materials & Deviceson February 24, 2021 at 8:39 am
Experts from around the world came together to discuss research related to heterostructure engineering for quantum materials and devices at the ...
- An intelligent soft material that curls under pressure or expands when stretched (video)on February 24, 2021 at 8:25 am
Plants and animals can rapidly respond to changes in their environment, such as a Venus flytrap snapping shut when a fly touches it. However, replicating similar actions in soft robots requires ...
- Materials scientists show way to make durable artificial tendons from improved hydrogelson February 24, 2021 at 8:11 am
UCLA materials scientists and their colleagues have developed a new method to make synthetic biomaterials that mimic the internal structure, stretchiness, strength and durability of tendons and other ...
- Paramount Group and Sarcos Robotics Sign MoU to Bring Highly Dexterous Mobile Robots for Defence Applications to the Middle East and Africaon February 24, 2021 at 7:59 am
Through this collaboration, the companies will explore market opportunities and modifications to Sarcos’ award-winning robotic systems to address the region’s unique requirements in the maritime and ...
- Researchers capture how materials break apart following an extreme shockon February 24, 2021 at 6:59 am
Understanding how materials deform and catastrophically fail when impacted by a powerful shock is crucial in a wide range of fields, including astrophysics, materials science and aerospace engineering ...
- Resgreen Group Updates Status of the Next Autonomous Mobile Roboton February 24, 2021 at 6:50 am
CLINTON TOWNSHIP, MI, February - OTC PR WIRE - Resgreen Group (OTC Pink: RGGI), a leading mobile robot company, today updates current development status of THE NEXT AUTONOMOUS MOBILE ROBOT a ...
- An intelligent soft material that curls under pressure or expands when stretchedon February 24, 2021 at 6:24 am
Researchers have printed liquid metal circuits onto a single piece of soft polymer, creating an intelligent material that curls under pressure or mechanical strain.
- RETRANSMISSION: Resgreen Group Updates Status of the Next Autonomous Mobile Roboton February 24, 2021 at 6:20 am
Resgreen Group (OTC Pink: RGGI), a leading mobile robot company, today updates current development status of THE NEXT AUTONOMOUS MOBILE ROBOT a light-duty Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR). "We are ...
- SafeLog launches warehouse robots that can operate individually or in a ‘swarm’on February 24, 2021 at 4:15 am
SafeLog has launched warehouse robots that can operate individually or in a “swarm”, and says it offers customised automated guided vehicle solutions that have no need for a control station ...
- ABB launches new range of ‘next generation’ collaborative robotson February 24, 2021 at 3:45 am
ABB is expanding its collaborative robot portfolio with the new GoFa and SWIFTI cobot families, offering higher payloads and speeds, to complement YuMi and Single Arm YuMi in ABB’s cobot line-up.
via Google News and Bing News