Robots are becoming even more human like with constant improvements in technology. For example, in a latest development, researchers guided by an engineer from the University of Houston, created a new type of robot which is soft. It is made up of ultrathin sensing, artificial muscle that can sense temperature, and actuating electronics – all of which can adjust to the surroundings and crawl like a caterpillar.
It can have wide ranging applications. Those include surgery, rehabilitation, and search and rescue in battlefields and areas affected by natural disasters. Since the body of robot changes shape in response to the surroundings, it can actually move through narrow crevices in search of people – dead or alive – after a catastrophic bombing or earthquake.
How do They Steal a March Over their Conventional Counterparts?
On account of being made of flexible artificial muscles and extra thin deformable sensors and actuators, they steak a march of the conventional robots that are highly inflexible. The traditional robots are mostly used in carrying out rote physical tasks. In other words, they help to automate processes. However, such traditional robots cannot adjust to their surroundings and cannot move automatically either.
The findings of the researchers published in a journal called Advanced Materials says they were inspired by real life creatures such as inchworms which have amazingly soft and flexible bodies.
The soft robot prototype is comprised of a liquid crystal elastomer which is smeared with tiny carbon black to enhance thermal conductivity. It acts as the artificial muscle which also has ultrathin stretchable thermal actuators in the form of a mesh and light sensors made of silicon.