Soft robot: Shaping itself and moving with own internally generated power?
For decades, robots have advanced the efficiency of human activity. Typically, however, robots are formed from bulky, stiff materials and require connections to external power sources; these features limit their dexterity and mobility. But what if a new material would allow for development of a “soft robot” that could reconfigure its own shape and move using its own internally generated power?
By developing a new computational model, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have designed a synthetic polymer gel that can utilize internally generated chemical energy to undergo shape-shifting and self-sustained propulsion. Their research was published April 30th in the journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature.