AI News, Enhancing the locomotion of small robots with microwheels

Enhancing the locomotion of small robots with microwheels

Developing approaches that enable the effective locomotion of microrobots in medical contexts, however, is a challenging task due to patterns in the flow of fluids inside the human body.

To overcome this challenge, past studies have proposed the use of wheel-shaped machines that can roll on surfaces, as their structure allows for enhanced propulsion and faster translation speeds.

'Due to fundamental limitations in fluid dynamics at small scales, it is difficult for small machines to swim, a limitation we have tried to overcome by developing methods based on wheels and driving on available surfaces,' Professor David Marr, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told TechXplore.

'These methods are relatively effective, [but] because surfaces within the body are wet, our wheels tend to slip and travel at about 10 percent of their theoretical maximum.

The idea of this work was to develop an approach that prevents slip with wheels that fit like gears onto the surface of travel, in effect removing slip and leading to significantly faster translation.'

One eventual goal is to develop wheels that better match surfaces in vivo, leading to faster therapies in diseases where treatment must be administered quickly, for example.'

'Our work revealed the important hydrodynamic interaction between microwheels and non-smooth surface, while most work in literature have primarily focused on the propulsion of micro-robot on flat surfaces,' Professor Ning Wu, another researcher involved in study, told TechXplore.

Achieving faster rotation of these small machines on bumpy surfaces could also simplify their manipulation while they are traveling in specific regions of the human body, such as partly obstructed vascular networks.

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