Researchers have developed a new way to design, manufacture and operate tiny bots, which improved their speed and maneuverability, and also allowed them to change configuration for additional tasks..
Scientists have created microrobots that change shape to perform various tasks
Most of the microrobots existing today have limited mobility, which significantly reduces the potential for their use. To increase their range of motion, they must be able to bend at greater angles. To achieve this, scientists at the University of Michigan decided to use the principles underlying the art of origami..
The team has created various robots no more than a centimeter in size, which can be folded up to 90° and more, which allows them to transform into more complex forms. It also gave them the ability to perform movements in a working range of up to 80 times per second..
Unlike other mechanisms that use origami principles, the created microrobots do not require external influences such as heat or a magnetic field to activate. Instead, the team used a layer of gold and polymer, which, under the influence of an electric current, acts as an on-board drive..
When current flows through the gold layer, it creates heat, through which the movements of the miniature robot can be controlled. To change its shape, it is enough to overheat the system, program the necessary folds and let them cool down. This provides elasticity and allows you to restore the original configuration..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: University of Michigan