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Robot Caterpillar Demonstrates Locomotion Approach for Soft Robotics

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How the caterpillar-like soft robot moves.

The caterpillar-bot consists of two layers of polymer that respond differently when exposed to heat. The bottom layer shrinks, or contracts, when exposed to heat. The top layer expands when exposed to heat.

Credit: Yong Zhu et al.

North Carolina State University (NC State) researchers have created a caterpillar-like soft robot that can locomote forward, backward, and duck under cramped areas.

Uniquely patterned silver nanowires control the robot's bending motion with programmable heat so users can steer it in either direction.

Two polymer layers constitute the caterpillar-bot, with the bottom layer contracting when exposed to heat while the top layer expands.

The researchers can apply electric current to different lead points to control which sections of the nanowire pattern heat up, and regulate the amount of heat according to how much current is expended.

NC State's Yong Zhu said, "This approach to driving motion in a soft robot is highly energy efficient, and we're interested in exploring ways that we could make this process even more efficient."

From NC State University News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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