Agile untethered fully soft robots in liquid

August 02, 2019

Soft robots have gained much attention in the past several years for their unique characteristics compared to traditional rigid robots. However, unlike the Baymax in the film "Big Hero 6", state-of-the-art soft robot is just a prototype in labs, usually tethered, which means it requires an electrical wire or pneumatic tubing for powering. To exploit the full potential of soft robots, untethered design is preferred. Existing approaches to equip the soft robots with untethered design usually involve high energy-density powering sources, which leads to integration problems, otherwise the robot will be bulk and clumsy for carry low energy-density power sources.

In nature are enormous creatures who have evolved for billions of years for surviving. Rove beetles in genus Stenus, a type of terrestrial insects lives around pools or streams, would gain a burst of kinetic energy to escape when they accidentally fell onto the water, by secreting chemicals to generate a surface energy gradient. Such a propulsive process, commonly known as Marangoni Propulsion, was adopted by live creatures, so it was mild and gentle, completely compatible with soft materials.

In a new research article published in the Beijing-based National Science Review, scientists at Huazhong University of Science & Technology report an untethered fully soft robot in liquid whose actuation employs environmental energy gradients. By releasing environmental active materials (EAMs) to the liquid environment, the robot could gain an agile speed of 5.5 body lengths per second, which is 7 times higher than the best reported value in the untethered soft robotic fish.

"A few advantages occur by adopting such aß mechanism, such as quietness, no thermal fatigue and so on." Prof. Zhigang Wu said, "More importantly, the actuation and the robot functional realization can be complemented separately. The designer, for the first time, gains the opportunity to focus on the function realization. This might enable the soft robot in some untouched scenarios in the future."
This research received funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

See the article:

Liang Xiong Lyu, Fen Li, Kang Wu, Pan Deng, Seung Hee Jeong, Zhigang Wu and Han Ding. Bio-inspired untethered fully soft robots in liquid actuated by induced energy gradients Natl Sci Rev (July 2019) doi: 10.1093/nsr/nwz083

The National Science Review is the first comprehensive scholarly journal released in English in China that is aimed at linking the country's rapidly advancing community of scientists with the global frontiers of science and technology. The journal also aims to shine a worldwide spotlight on scientific research advances across China.

Science China Press

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to