Sunday, March 6, 2022

Insect robots capable of performing tasks in difficult-to-reach areas have been developed.

insect robot

These small insect-inspired robots are designed to access inhospitable areas that other robots or humans cannot.

Robotics has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent decades, with new robots capable of not only holding items as delicate as an egg, but also of serving as exploration or rescue machines.

The problem with many of these robots is that they have a large wingspan, so we are also seeing advances in insect-like robots, i.e. machines inspired by the insects that we normally see in nature, and that will make our lives much easier, particularly with regard to tasks performed in difficult-to-reach spaces.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have now developed small insect-inspired robots capable of performing all of these tasks. According to the team, these robots could end up being used to access difficult areas in order to obtain images or perform environmental assessments, but they could also be used to collect water samples or perform structural assessments.

"Anywhere you want to access confined places, where an insect might go but a person might not," said Junfeng Gao, a Ph.D. student in industrial engineering who led the work.

Hoping on surfaces is more energy efficient for most insects than climbing, and the researchers were inspired by this technique when designing their robots.

These robots, which are made of polymeric artificial muscle, have versatile movement and a small size, similar to that of a cricket, allowing them to move on moving surfaces such as sand as easily as they would on a hard surface.

"It's like loading an arrow into a bow and shooting it: the robots engage to build up energy and then release it in an impulsive burst to leap forward," M. Ravi Shankar, professor of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, explains.


Article Author Gerluxe

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