This Robot Fish Is Powered by Blood

first_img Untethered robots have a serious stamina problem.Researchers at Cornell University, however, have an interesting solution.In a paper published this week by the journal Nature, the team describes a circulating liquid—”robot blood,” if you will—that can power applications for long-duration tasks.“In nature we see how long organisms can operate while doing sophisticated tasks,” senior study author Rob Shepherd, director of Cornell’s Organic Robotics Lab, said in a statement. “Robots can’t perform similar feats for very long.“Our bio-inspired approach can dramatically increase the system’s energy density while allowing soft robots to remain mobile for far longer,” he added.The synthetic vascular system is capable of pumping a hydraulic liquid that stores energy, transmits force, operates appendages, and provides structure—all in an integrated design.Since soft robots are mostly fluid already, adding a bit more juice could boost energy density without adding much weight.Shepherd & Co. tested that theory by creating a lionfish-inspired aquatic soft robot, designed by study co-author James Pikul, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania.Silicone skin on the outside and flexible electrodes on the inside allow the bot to bend and move like its IRL counterpart. The device swims using power transmitted to its fins from a flow cell battery.The initial design provided enough power to swim upstream for an impressive 36-plus hours. Which means the bot would still need periodic recharging, and can’t be left alone for permanent tasks. But that’s true of most humans, too.“We want to take as many components in a robot and turn them into the energy system,” Shepherd said. “If you have hydraulic liquids in your robot already, then you can tap into large stores of energy and give robots increased freedom to operate autonomously.”By designing power sources that give machines the ability to function for longer, Shepherd believes autonomous androids could soon be roaming Earth’s oceans on vital scientific and environmental missions.They could also travel to extraterrestrial worlds for underwater reconnaissance missions.More on Robot Learns to ID Objects by Sight, TouchCrab Robot Designed to Search for Ocean Litter Makes First DiveHummingbird Robots Use AI to Go Where Drones Can’t Stay on target Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseMIT’s Thread-Like Robot Slides Through Blood Vessels In the Brain last_img