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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Scientists develop agile new insect robots that can quickly turn in extremely small spaces

Scientists develop agile new insect robots that can quickly turn in extremely small spaces

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:21

According to foreign media New Atlas, engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have created an insect like robot that can quickly move and turn in an instant. The robot's fancy gait is attributed to its use of different voltages to alternate the use of stickiness and perform rapid turns.

The new robot is based on the design described by the team in 2019, which is made of rectangular sheets of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) coated with elastic polymers. The idea is that when alternating current is applied, the material will quickly bend and straighten, transforming into forward motion.

In fact, the team reported that its speed is surprisingly fast, and the robot can move at a speed of 20 of its own length per second on flat surfaces, and even carry small payloads. But the problem is that its maneuverability is not very strong, so in the new version, engineers have equipped it with more advanced "legs".

"Our original robot could move very, very quickly, but we couldn't really control whether the robot was left or right, and often it would move randomly because if there was a slight difference in the manufacturing process, and if the robot was asymmetrical, it would lean to one side," said Lin Liwei, a senior author of the study. "The main innovation in this work is the addition of these 'foot pads', allowing it to perform very fast turns."

The working principle of the robot's legs is electrostatic adhesion. In this case, when a voltage is applied to a "leg", it will stick to the floor, causing the robot to rotate sharply in that direction. Researchers have demonstrated the agility of robots by allowing them to navigate through a maze, which they can complete within 5.6 seconds. In other tests, it was equipped with gas sensors and responsible for creating a gas concentration map within an area, which may suggest future applications in locating leak sources.

The team built two different versions, one tethered to a power source and the other running on batteries. The tethered model is faster, with a maximum speed of 28 self lengths per second, which is almost as fast as a live cockroach. Meanwhile, the speed of the battery model is slower, but it is possible to go further, with a maximum length of 19 minutes and 102 feet (31 meters) when carrying a gas sensor.

Lin Liwei said, "One of the biggest challenges today is to manufacture smaller robots to maintain the power and control of larger robots. For larger robots, you can include a large battery and a control system, no problem.". However, when you try to shrink everything to smaller and smaller scales, the weight of these elements makes it difficult for the robot to carry, and the robot's movement speed is usually very slow. Our robot is very fast, quite strong, and requires very little power, allowing it to carry both sensors and electronic devices as well as batteries.

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