Scientists create growing robot by mimicking plant movement
Researchers Elliot W. Hawkes, Laura H. Blumenschein, Joseph D. Greer, and Allison M. Okamura of the Universities of California, Santa Barbara, and Stanford have created a flexible robot that develops by mimicking the growth of a climbing plant in search of Sun light.
Its body is made of soft plastic, which expands through inflation by a battery-powered air pump. From its base, with an enclosure of 2 and a half centimeters, the robot can extend up to 72 meters, making movements according to the terrain to reach a certain target. Depending on the pressure exerted, it can pass through cracks in walls, climb walls and push buttons.
With the flexible robot, researchers seek to solve problems of access to places where humans, robots that mimic the movements of humans and animals cannot reach.
He can carry a camera or any load attached to his end that will pop out of his body as it fully unfolds. This would be useful in debris rescue situations, for example, as it can be used to pump air or bring water to a trapped person. In some cases, it can even loosen a leg or an arm as it can lift up to 68 pounds. With a miniaturized version, it can be used in surgeries.
The research team has several tests to perform, and can explore many possibilities and replace the robot material with something tougher, such as nylon or kevlar.
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Scientists create growing robot by mimicking plant movement via TecMundo