Continuing the quest to design robots that could travel through our bodies to deliver drugs and cure disease, researchers at EPFL and ETH Zurich demonstrated tiny shape-shifting microrobots that swim through blood vessels. Made from hydrogel nanocomposites, the microbots can fold into various shapes for easy travel through tight spaces and flowing with dense, viscous, or fast-moving liquids. The microbots are peppered with magnetic nanoparticles so that they can be "steered" with an external magnetic field. From EPFL:
“Our robots have a special composition and structure that allow them to adapt to the characteristics of the fluid they are moving through. For instance, if they encounter a change in viscosity or osmotic concentration, they modify their shape to maintain their speed and maneuverability without losing control of the direction of motion,” says (EPFL researcher Selman) Sakar.
These deformations can be “programmed” in advance so as to maximize performance without the use of cumbersome sensors or actuators. The robots can be either controlled using an electromagnetic field or left to navigate on their own through cavities by utilizing fluid flow. Either way, they will automatically morph into the most efficient shape.
"Smart microrobots that can adapt to their surroundings" (EPFL)
Inspired by the way plants grow, MIT researchers designed a flexible robot appendage that can work in tight spaces but is rigid enough to support heavy parts or twist tight screws. From MIT News: The appendage design is inspired by the way plants grow, which involves the transport of nutrients, in a fluidized form, up […]
Greg Olijnyk works as a 2D graphic designer, but his hobby is creating unbelievably wonderful 3D science fictional cardboard sculptures that sport motors and lights that animate them (some use photovoltaic cells for power, too).
Corridor produced this excellent parody of Boston Dynamics’ robots and the style of its promotional videos. It could be the trailer for a new Neill Blomkamp or Paul Verhoeven movie, but where the satire is immediately transformed into stress because there’s very little about it that seems unlikely or even beyond the fairly immediate future. […]
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