New era of soft robotics begins with squishy 'octobot'

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    A squishy octopus-shaped machine less than 2 centimetres tall is making waves in the field of soft robotics. The ‘octobot’ described today in Nature1 is the first self-contained robot made exclusively of soft, flexible parts.
    The octobot is made of silicone rubber. Its ‘brain’ is a flexible microfluidic circuit that directs the flow of liquid fuel through channels using pressure-activated valves and switches. According to engineers, it’s an analogy of what would be an electrical circuit normally. Instead of passing electrons around, they're passing liquids and gases.
    Many soft robots are tethered to compressed air tanks that provide power, but this can restrict their range of motion. Wood and his colleagues take a different approach, using a chemical reaction to power the octobot.
    Their fuel is a 50% hydrogen peroxide solution. When this is exposed to platinum infused into two segments of the robot's internal network, it rapidly decomposes into a greater volume of water and oxygen. The resulting burst of pressurized gas in each segment inflates and extends one set of arms, eventually exiting through exhaust vents.
    The octobot currently runs for up to 8 minutes on 1 millilitre of fuel. It is not designed to perform any particular task, and doesn’t mimic the motions of a real octopus. Instead, it demonstrates the technology. In the future, more sophisticated microfluidic circuits might improve endurance, and allow more complex movements when paired with the appropriate limb designs, the authors suggest.
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  3. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    It sometimes turns out that new innovations spring forward from an initial idea, evolving beyond the original intent. Can't say I'm impress with what I saw, but who knows where it might lead technology in the future
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    How cool is that!!!
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  7. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    This is actually surprisingly advanced. Where autonomy is governed by microfluidic logic much like energy is directed throughout the human body. There is an exchange between internal and external energies, this is a characteristic of self-containment.

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