Researchers Make Inchworm-Like Robot that Runs on Humidity

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 14:46

Researchers have created a tiny, inchworm-like robot that runs on humidity.

According to an Engadget report, tiny robots that can move on their own, have a variety of uses in fields ranging from medicine to the military.

To make this robot, researchers have been inspired by plants like Pelargonium carnosum, the seeds of which can screw themselves into the ground, and pine cones that open and close depending on the humidity in order to ensure their seeds spread as far as possible.

These plants are able to do this because they have multiple layers of cells, some of which are affected by moisture and some of which aren't. When the plants come in contact with moisture, those layers that are responsive to it tend to stretch or swell and since other layers don't, it results in some sort of useful motion -- either a spinning motion that can drive seeds into the ground or an open and close motion that can keep seeds in place until conditions are optimal for dispersal.

The research team is now working on giving these robots a greater range of motion and equipping them with sensors that will let them respond to particular gases. The study was published in Science Robotics.

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