AI News, New robot concept uses responsive materials to swim through water

New robot concept uses responsive materials to swim through water

'Our examples show that we can use structured materials that deform in response to environmental cues, to control and propel robots,' says Daraio, professor of mechanical engineering and applied physics in Caltech's Division of Engineering and Applied Science, and corresponding author of a paper unveiling the robots that appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on May 15.

In the latest iteration of the design, Daraio's team and collaborators were able to link up the polymer elements and switches in such a way to make a four-paddled robot propel itself forward, drop off a small payload (in this case, a token with a Caltech seal emblazoned on it), and then paddle backward.

Next, the team plans to explore ways to redesign the bistable elements so that they are self-resetting when water temperature shifts again -- making them potentially capable of swimming on indefinitely, so long as water temperature keeps fluctuating.

Motorless Self-Propelled Swimming Robot by Caltech & ETH Zurich

Engineers at Caltech and ETH Zurich have developed robots capable of self-propulsion without using any motors, servos, or power supply. Instead, these ...