You should never forget that robots are notonly four-legged mechanisms like SpotMini, which are able to open doors and perform various acrobatic stunts. In addition to them, engineers also develop mechanisms that, due to their tiny size, can move inside living organisms and deliver drugs to hard-to-reach places. Researchers from the Polytechnic School of Lausanne and the Higher Technical School of Zurich created a microbe robot that adapts to different types of liquids and can float even in blood vessels.
Lead author of the project Selman Sakar toldthat when creating the external structure of the robot, they were based on the principles of the Kirigami - the Japanese art of making figures using paper and scissors. Thanks to its flexible design, the robot is able to move even inside narrow blood vessels without any loss of speed.
Our robot has a special composition and structure,which allows it to adapt to the characteristics of the fluid through which it moves. For example, if it encounters changes in viscosity or concentration of dissolved particles, it changes its shape in order to maintain speed and maneuverability, without losing control over the direction of motion.
The microbial robot is made of nanocomposite,filled with a material with a tightly bonded polymer mesh - this is what gives it a special elasticity. Instead of equipping it with rather large sensors and a battery, the researchers adopted magnetic nanoparticles that react to changes in the electric fields. This gave them the opportunity to program the robots for deformation.
In nature, there are many microorganisms that change their shape as environmental conditions change. This principle inspired us to develop microrobots.
The researchers stressed that due to the minimumnecessary components, the production of such robots is very cheap. They intend to constantly improve their design so that they can move in the most complex fluids.
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