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Your location: Home > Related Articles > MIT develops new artificial muscles to enhance the performance of micro flying robots

MIT develops new artificial muscles to enhance the performance of micro flying robots

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:81

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have demonstrated micro drones that can fly around with insect like agility and resilience, ultimately performing specific tasks. The soft actuators that drive these micro robots are very durable, but they require much higher voltage than rigid actuators of similar sizes.

Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have pioneered a new manufacturing technology that enables them to produce low voltage, high power density, and high durability soft drives for aerial micro robots. This manufacturing technology generates low voltage, power intensive artificial muscles, improving the performance of flying micro robots. Its working voltage is 75% lower than the current version, and it also carries 80% more payload. These soft drives are like artificial muscles that can quickly flap the wings of robots.

This new manufacturing technology produces fewer artificial muscle defects, which greatly extends the lifespan of components and increases the performance and payload of robots. This opens up many opportunities for the transition to installing power electronic devices on micro robots in the future. This rectangular micro robot weighs less than a quarter and has four sets of wings, each driven by a soft drive.

These muscle like actuators are made of two layers of elastic material, sandwiched between two very thin electrodes and then rolled into a soft cylinder. When voltage is applied to the actuator, the electrodes compress the elastomer, and this mechanical strain is used to fan the wings. The larger the surface area of the actuator, the less voltage is required.

Therefore, the research team constructed these artificial muscles by alternately using as many ultra-thin elastomers and electrodes as possible. As the elastic layers become thinner, they become more unstable. For the first time, researchers were able to manufacture an actuator with 20 layers, each with a thickness of 10 micrometers (approximately the diameter of a red blood cell). But they had to reinvent some manufacturing processes to achieve this goal.