A 3D-printed “meta-bot” developed by UCLA engineers is capable of propulsion, movement, sensing and decision-making. It is manufactured all at once by a new type of 3D printing process for engineered active materials with multiple functions (also known as metamaterials).
A team of UCLA engineers and their colleagues have developed a new design strategy and 3D printing technique to build robots in one single step.
A study that outlined the advance, along with the construction and demonstration of an assortment of tiny robots that walk, maneuver and jump, was published in Science today.
The breakthrough enabled the entire mechanical and electronic systems needed to operate a robot to be manufactured all at once by a new type of 3D printing process for engineered active materials with multiple functions (also known as metamaterials). Once 3D printed, a “meta-bot” will be capable of propulsion, movement, sensing and decision-making.
The printed metamaterials consist of an internal network of sensory, moving and structural elements and can move by themselves following programmed commands. With the internal network of moving and sensing already in place, the only external component needed is a small battery to power the robot.
“We envision that this design and printing methodology of smart robotic materials will help realize a class of autonomous materials that could replace the current complex assembly process for making a robot,” said Xiaoyu (Rayne) Zheng.
“We envision that this design and printing methodology of smart robotic materials will help realize a class of autonomous materials that could replace the current complex assembly process for making a robot,” said the study’s principal investigator Xiaoyu (Rayne) Zheng, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. “With complex motions, multiple modes of sensing and programmable decision-making abilities all tightly integrated, it’s similar to a biological system with the nerves, bones and tendons working in tandem to execute controlled motions.”
The team demonstrated the integration with an on-board battery and controller for the fully autonomous operation of the 3D printed robots — each at the size of a finger nail. According to Zheng, who is also a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, the methodology could lead to new designs for biomedical robots, such as self-steering endoscopes or tiny swimming robots, which can emit ultrasounds and navigate themselves near blood vessels to deliver drug doses at specific target sites inside the body.
These “meta-bots” can also explore hazardous environments. In a collapsed building, for example, a swarm of such tiny robots armed with integrated sensing parts could quickly access confined spaces, assess threat levels and help rescue efforts by finding people trapped in the rubble.
Rayne Research Group/UCLA
UCLA-developed “meta-bots” demonstrate their flexibility and abilities to navigate tough terrain and avoid obstacles
Most robots, no matter their size, are typically built in a series of complex manufacturing steps that integrate the limbs, electronic and active components. The process results in heavier weights, bulkier volumes and reduced force output compared to robots that could be built using this new method.
The key in the UCLA-led, all-in-one method is the design and printing of piezoelectric metamaterials — a class of intricate lattice materials that can change shape and move in response to an electric field or create electrical charge as a result of physical forces.
The use of active materials that can translate electricity to motions is not new. However, these materials generally have limits in their range of motion and distance of travel. They also need to be connected to gearbox-like transmission systems in order to achieve desired motions.
By contrast, the UCLA-developed robotic materials — each the size of a penny — are composed of intricate piezoelectric and structural elements that are designed to bend, flex, twist, rotate, expand or contract at high speeds.
The team also presented a methodology to design these robotic materials so users could make their own models and print the materials into a robot directly.
“This allows actuating elements to be arranged precisely throughout the robot for fast, complex and extended movements on various types of terrain,” said the study’s lead author Huachen Cui.
“This allows actuating elements to be arranged precisely throughout the robot for fast, complex and extended movements on various types of terrain,” said the study’s lead author Huachen Cui, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar in Zheng’s Additive Manufacturing and Metamaterials Laboratory. “With the two-way piezoelectric effect, the robotic materials can also self-sense their contortions, detect obstacles via echoes and ultrasound emissions, as well as respond to external stimuli through a feedback control loop that determines how the robots move, how fast they move and toward which target they move.”
Using the technique, the team built and demonstrated three “meta-bots” with different capabilities. One robot can navigate around S-shaped corners and randomly placed obstacles, another can escape in response to a contact impact, while the third robot could walk over rough terrain and even make small jumps.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Meta Quest Promo Codes - February 2024
Save up to 60% on Other Worlds all-star games and apps Immerse yourself in heart-pounding adventures, creative experiences, and social fun with the Meta Quest Other Worlds. Discover popular titles ...
- Meta Quest Promo Codes
Ratings with an average of out of 5 stars. Shop Meta Quest 3 + free Asgard's Wrath 2 game + 6-month trial of Meta Quest+ ($100 value) ***** Mar 30 Bring virtual elements into your physical space ...
- Best MW3 loadouts for the current meta
What are the best MW3 loadouts? You can have all the skill in the world, but if your guns and equipment let you down at the most vital moment of a match, you’ll be left ruing another loss.
- 10 Best Instagram Bots That STILL work (Full Guide)
Establishing a robust online presence is essential for individuals and businesses. One highly effective strategy to boost engagement on Instagram is to leverage Instagram bots. This comprehensive ...
- Mega Man X Medabots S Crossover Event Will Appear Soon
Here is the full list of the Mega Man X-themed Medabots, along with the methods to obtain each of them: ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
[google_news title=”” keyword=”meta-bots” num_posts=”5″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
Go deeper with Bing News on:
3D printed robots
- The AI Revolution: How Robots Are Changing Industries
The trend in industries in the past few years has been towards robotics and automation use. Due to the development of technology, the number of working that are automated is increasing, and robots hav ...
- This 3D-printed hydrogel material could be used to build homes one day
But it has not previously been used as an architectural material, according to the research team. Researchers managed to 3D-print a robot hand that mimics bones, ligaments, and tendons This tiny robot ...
- Computer-simulated moon dust may help lunar robots pass a major hurdle
Scientists have developed a new computer model that simulates how moon dust behaves in lunar gravity. They hope it will help future robotic moon explorers to do their job more safely. Moon dust, or ...
- The Viewfinder: Kind Designs uses huge 3D printer to make eco-friendly seawalls (photos)
Kind Designs does not sell directly to consumers. It prints the seawall panels at its Miami facility and then sells them to construction contractors, who install them in coastal areas. Dock and Marine ...
- The future of architecture is here: Detroit's first 3D-printed house is complete
The house took a year and three months to complete and is now being sold at a capped price of $224,500 by Keller Williams Realty.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
3D printed robots
[google_news title=”” keyword=”3D printed robots” num_posts=”5″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]