"It can swagger is and crawl through narrow places. This is the latest prototype of robots designs based on models of nature. Watch the video."
A Harvard team, led by chemist George M. Whitesides, was inspired by squid, starfish and other animals without rigid skeleton to shape a small rubber robot with four legs resembling Gumby, a TV cartoon character made of clay.
Squids are cephalopods and starfish are echinoderms which are invertebrates and have no definite spinal cord. Also their skeleton highly flexible mostly of cartilages and few bony structures not resemble to higher animals. Based on their flexible nature, the scientists were able to think a model of Robot which can actually crawl like these living organisms with no hitches or glitches in the joints machinery.
In recent years, scientists have been making small adjustments to soft robots - occasionally strange ones - designed to be able to introduce in places difficult to reach through cracks after a natural disaster like an earthquake, or to move through rough terrain on a battlefield. "The unique ability that has soft robots to deform allows them to go to places that traditional robots of rigid body cannot," explained Matthew Walter, an expert in robotics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This new robot could be a landmark in various fields. As for now the recent idea that sparks is that it can be used for modeling some equipment that could work in narrow spaces and also some environments where living beings are impossible to intervene. One can predict some medical purposed of it also as the model and idea can also be tested for several injuries to human body, like some severely fractured muscles replacements. But that requires a lot of research.
The project of Harvard, funded by the investigative branch of the Pentagon, was described Monday on the internet in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (protocols of the National Academy of Sciences). The new robot, which was built in two months, measures only 12.7 centimeters in length. Its four legs can be controlled separately to pump air to their limbs, manually or through a computer. This gives the robot a range of movements including the ability to crawl and slither.
The researchers tested the flexibility of the robot doing it demonstration under a glass window placed only 1.9 inches from the surface. Scientists maneuvered it 15 times through the small opening using a combination of movements. In most cases took less than a minute pass from one side to the other.
Experts want to eventually improve the speed of the robot, but were pleased that was not broken by the constant inflating and deflating. But not everything is honey on flakes: the robot is bound to an external power source and scientists need to find a way to integrate it before that can be put into operation in the real world.
Like in many movies we have seen Nano bots repairing sci-fi vehicles in various situations or combat scenes this purpose will do good for this kind of invention but again to do this a lot of work and resources is necessary. Let us hope that it can be worthwhile for future studies in the field of robotics and industry. As funny as it looks and as its slow movement scientist might have to study more nature to find for quick mobility but as for now a toy squid for kids would also be a better start for making this tech available for public disposal.
Here in the video embedded the robot is showing a great display of invertebrate movement. This ability can be used for educational purposes for teaching students on concern of zoology and animal locomotion.
An intersting comment about its manufacture was on YouTube, which also puts a little extra light of its mechanism of working that is as follows: