Engineers from Cornell, PA, andalso one of the European universities created a soft robot fish, using as an energy source not solid batteries, but an artificial blood flow system through which liquid electrolyte flows. This approach allows a 40 cm machine to accumulate more energy in a confined space and work for longer periods of time without the need for heavy and bulky battery packs. The development is reported in the journal Nature.
According to Robert Shepherd, robotics fromCornell University, the head of the team that developed this robot, their development is promising due to its multifunctionality and autonomy - based on it you can create a new generation of robots capable of performing tasks without human intervention.
How to create the most autonomous robot?
Creating the most autonomous robots,able to work independently for long periods of time is a key issue in robotics. Meanwhile, such machines would be very useful, for example, when performing lengthy search and rescue operations or in the course of deep-sea explorations, says Cecilia Laski, a robot from the School of Advanced Studies named after St. Anne in Italy.
The cornerstone in the creation of suchmaximum autonomous machines is the issue of storage conservation. Even the most modern robots that imitate humans or animals, usually do not have multifunctional and interconnected "life-supporting" systems, like in living organisms. In the same person, the necessary nutrients to all organs supply blood that constantly circulates through the body. The robot also receives energy from batteries, and the more it needs energy, the more difficult it is to equip it with batteries without sacrificing autonomy and overall weight.
Artificial "circulatory" system of the robot
Developed by robot fish engineers is similar toray-drawn zebra fish. Its design is permeated with flexible artificial vessels, consisting of interconnected flow accumulators. Inside each such battery there are positive and negative electrodes (anode and cathode), separated by a membrane. Special small pumps pump liquid electrolyte (zinc iodide) throughout this chain. The energy that occurs when electrons move from the anode to the cathode is used for the functioning of the robot’s electronic systems. At the same time, its fins are driven directly by the movement of fluid inside them. This approach has increased the amount of energy stored in the robot by 325 percent, the developers note.
During the test, the robooryba could swim autonomously for a long time (up to 37 hours without recharging) at a speed of about 1.5 body length per minute when moving against the current.
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