A caterpillar robot that got constructed recently received its energy from and is actuated by light. This little contraption is fun to view in its actions.
The experts used Liquid Crystal Elastomer technology to show how a biology-based microbot could copy the actions of a real life caterpillar.
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Its demeanor followed that of a humble caterpillar down to the minutest details. This soft robot was 15 mm in length and used energy from green light. It is in turn controlled by a spatially modulated laser beam.
Besides traversing flat planes, this robot can climb surfaces at a sharp incline and at steep angles. It can also fit into the tightest of spots as well as carry a sizable weight in piggyback fashion.
It’s been eons since IT experts have put two and two together in order to build such robots that imitate the gaits of various living creatures. The thing is the types of locomotion found in Nature by creature big and small.
The robots have rigid skeletal designs and their joints are electrically and pneumatically operated. Yet the fact remains that in Nature, many creatures have soft and pliable bodies. Earthworms, snails and slugs as well as the larvae of many insects show these characteristics.
These living beings can move about with ease in a range of environments. The robots that were built to mimic these animals were rather large and clunky to begin with.
Liquid Crystal Elastomers (LCEs) are a clever class of materials that are pliable when subjected to elucidation by visible light. With the latest state-of-the-art technology, these LCEs can be fashioned closer to the heart’s desire and shaped to form 3D bodies that move in a natural way.
In fact, the most complex of activities can be copied in the most efficient manner thanks to this schemata.
Finally, a small scale caterpillar robot has been manufactured that is as close as you can get to the real thing. It has a monolithic design philosophy behind it. It is made from an LCE stripe and has a patterned molecular alignment to go along with this feature.
The robot is very adept at copying the gait of natural caterpillars to a T. It can even move weights that are ten times as heavy as its own gram for gram status. This robot has a number of applications.
Humanity is slowly yet steadily learning from Mother Nature which is light years ahead of us. The act of evolution is being driven into a fast forward stance and mankind is engaging in cultural and technological revolution.
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Rethinking Nature and hacking the laws of the universe are something that will pay back in ever-increasing dividends as time goes on.