Origami-inspired active graphene-based paper can surprisingly act on its own volition like magic. This new invention of sorts has the scientists and public enthused.
Origami requires human agency to fold it into its many creases before you get the Japanese Crane or the Plane and Boat from a simple sheet of paper. But what if you could have a new form of paper that performed its actions on its own without so much as a single string attached to it.
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Well, just such a magical mystical paper which is based on graphene has been invented. It is a novel graphene oxide-based paper that is self-acting.
The paper has the quality of folding, walking about and even twisting and twirling on its own. This is quite a mindboggling thing to see. At first you almost think it is a hoax. All that is required is some infrared laser-based heat to make the paper start doing acrobatics in the air.
It quickens its speed when the laser is directed at it. And it goes back to the original state when the laser’s ray of concentrated light is switched off. The very sight looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
The special paper could have future applications such as in the form of sensors that detect heat, light and humidity levels. It may also be used to sense the acid-base or pH balance of a solution.
The possibilities are virtually infinite. In fact, this sort of thing blurs the distinction between technology and magic. The two become virtually indistinguishable. The laser light acts as a catalyst to convert the paper into a microbot of sorts.
Currently the paper possesses the size of a fingernail but in the future it could be a bigger piece of paper that gets to seemingly act on its own volition.
Chinese scientists and researchers are responsible for this new addition in our technological paraphernalia base. It is also hygroscopic and absorbs water from the surrounding environment. But the moment the laser light hits its surface, it loses all the water which scatters away from it.
When the laser light was turned on and off, the paper behaved erratically. It almost looked liked it possessed the properties of life. But of course such is not the case. We are still a long way from life-like intelligence and agency. Artificial intelligence is all we can come up with on a human level.
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This study was published on November 6 in Science Advances.