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
- Tuning collagen threads for biohybrid robotson July 2, 2021 at 12:29 pm
The idea of incorporating actual muscles or neurons into a robotic system might sound like science fiction, but researchers in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Mechanical Engineering are ...
- Tyson unit betting on new robot techon June 30, 2021 at 9:45 am
Tyson Foods Inc. capital venture arm, Tyson Ventures, has invested in Soft Robotics Inc., a developer of advanced technologies that give industrial robots a dexterity similar to hand-eyed coordination ...
- Robotic solutions firm Soft Robotics secures $10m Series B extensionon June 30, 2021 at 6:18 am
Food robotics company Soft Robotics has raised a $10m Series B extension, as it looks to further expand its commercial operations.
- Global Soft Robot Technology Market Size, Status and Forecast 2021-2027on June 30, 2021 at 12:41 am
Pages Report] Check for Discount on Global Soft Robot Technology Market Size, Status and Forecast 2021-2027 report by QYResearch Group. In this report, Soft Robot include three types of ...
- Japan's SoftBank says Pepper robot remains 'alive' and wellon June 29, 2021 at 8:18 pm
Japanese technology company SoftBank denies it’s pulling the plug on its friendly, talking, bubble-headed Pepper robot. “There is absolutely no change to our Pepper business,” SoftBank Robotics Corp.
- Soft Robotics adds $10M Series B extensionon June 29, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Series B extension. will use the capital to further expand commercial operations to meet COVID-19 pandemic-fueled demand and aid the launch of its SoftAI powered robotic solutions. SoftAI adds 3D ...
- Tyson Ventures, ABB invest in Soft Robotics $10 million funding roundon June 29, 2021 at 3:28 pm
Tyson Foods joined ABB Technology Ventures, Tekfen Ventures and three other venture capital firms to invest a combined $10 million into Soft Robotics, to further the tech company’s work ...
- Soft Robotics raises another $10M, citing pandemic-related demandon June 29, 2021 at 7:31 am
Add Soft Robotics to the long list of automation companies that have seen a boost in investment interest amid the pandemic. The New England-based firm announced this morning a $10 million raise that ...
- Food Robotics Leader Soft Robotics Raises $10M to Meet Pandemic-induced Demand and Bring its 3D Vision and AI-Powered Solutions to Marketon June 29, 2021 at 6:23 am
Award-winning food robotics company Soft Robotics Inc. announced today that it has raised a $10M Series B extension, to further expand commercial operations to meet COVID-19 pandemic-fueled demand.
via Bing News