Nearly transparent robots that flap, squeeze and kick when pumped with water could be the next underwater spies, at least when it comes to sneaking on aquatic animals.
In a robotic test, one of the jelly like machines were quick enough to grab and release a goldfish, a team of institute of Technology found. Researchers created a series of the transparent robots from a rubbery material called hydro-gel, including a fin-like bot (robot) that can flap back and forth, a limb that can kick, and a hand-shaped structure that can squeeze and let go.
Hydro-gels are soft, wet, bio compatible and can form more friendly interfaces with human organs. A professor from mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering, said in one statement. The researcher added that the group is collaborating with medical scientists to create soft hands which aid in delicately manipulating tissues and organs during surgeries.
For five years scientists work to whip up for various hydro-gel mixes made from polymers and water, to find one that was tough and stretchable. They developed process to attach the array of surfaces such as glass metal and rubber.
They noted that others have tried to craft soft robotics from hydro-gels, but their material was brittle and not very flexible, resulting in cracks after repeated use. When brainstorming ways to create soft robots from their hydro-gels, the researchers looked to nature, particularly at glass eels, these tiny, transparent are soft like hydro-gels and manage to migrate unscathed over long distances to their riverine habitats. The robot is totally transparent and it very hard to see. When you release the fish its quite happy as the robot is very soft and doesn’t damage the fish. Imagine a hard robotic hand would probably squash the fish.
Researcher’s team is now dreaming up various applications for the hydro-gel robots, while also playing around with the hydro- gel recipe to customize it for particular uses, a robot used in medical field, for instance, they may not completed transparent, while another application not require stiffer hydro-gel.