MessageToEagle.com - In the near future this kind of amazing robots will cost just a few dollars.
This robot is made of silicone. It can walk, change color and light up in the dark.
It can even change temperature. For now, it can do all of this for less than $100.
A team of researchers led by George Whitesides, the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor,
has already broken new engineering ground with the development of soft, silicone-based robots inspired
by creatures like starfish and squid and it was already reported in
The experiments continue and in a development to be reported in the August 17 issue of Science, researchers
led by Drs. George Whitesides and Stephen Morin at Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering demonstrated that microfluidic channels in
soft robots enable functions including actuation, camouflage, display, fluid transport and temperature regulation.
Why does this matter to the Department of Defense?
DARPA foresees robots of many shapes and sizes contributing to a wide range of future defense missions,
but robotics is still a young field that has focused much of its attention so far on complex hardware.
In the video above, a soft robot walks onto a bed of rocks and is filled with fluid to match the color
of the rocks and break up the robot’s shape. The robot moves at a speed of approximately 40 meters per hour;
absent the colored fluid, it can move at approximately 67 meters per hour. Future research will focus on smoothing
the movements; however, speed is less important than the robot’s flexibility. Soft robots are useful because they
are resilient and can maneuver through very constrained spaces. Credits: Photo Credits: http://www.darpa.mil
Consequently, the costs associated with robotics are typically very high. What DARPA has achieved with
silicone-based soft robots is development of a very low cost manufacturing method that uses molds.
By introducing narrow channels into the molds through which air and various types of fluids can be pumped,
a robot can be made to change its color, contrast, apparent shape and temperature to blend with its
environment, glow through chemiluminescence, and most importantly, achieve actuation, or movement,
through pneumatic pressurization and inflation of the channels.
In nature, some organisms use bioluminescence to communicate.
DARPA’s soft robot achieves the same glowing effect by pumping chemiluminescent solutions through channels in the
robot’s color layer. Photo Credits: http://www.darpa.mil
The combination of low cost and increased capabilities means DARPA has removed one of the major
obstacles to greater DoD adoption of robot technology.
Gill Pratt, the DARPA program manager for M3, put the achievement in context:
“DARPA is developing a suite of robots that draw inspiration from the ingenuity and efficiency
In DARPA’s soft robot, the microfluidic networks used for camouflage or display are contained in thin
silicone sheets referred to as color layers. Various heated or cooled dye, chemiluminescent and fluorescent
solutions and water can be pumped through the color layers to adjust temperature and appearance. Photo Credits: http://www.darpa.mil
For defense applications, ingenuity and efficiency are not enough—robotic systems must also be
cost effective. This novel robot is a significant advance towards achieving all three goals.”
In the video above, a soft robot walks onto a bed of rocks and is filled with fluid to match the
color of the rocks and break up the robot’s shape. The robot moves at a speed of approximately
40 meters per hour; absent the colored fluid, it can move at approximately 67 meters per hour.
Future research will focus on smoothing the movements; however, speed is less important than the robot’s
flexibility. Soft robots are useful because they are resilient and can maneuver through very constrained spaces.
For this demonstration, the researchers used tethers to attach the control system and pump pressurized
gases and liquids into the robot. Tethered operation reduces the size and weight of such robots by
leaving power sources and pumps off-board, but future prototypes could incorporate that equipment
in a self-contained system.
At a pumping rate of 2.25 milliliters per minute, color change in the
robot required 30 seconds. Once filled, the color layers require no power to sustain the color.
Aside from their potential tactical value, soft robots with microfluidic channels could also have
medical applications. The devices could simulate fluid vessels and muscle motion for realistic
modeling or training, and may be used in prosthetic technology.
Additional video presented by Stephen Morin, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and first author
of the paper explains how a "dynamic coloration"
system for soft robots works.
The system might one day have applications ranging from helping doctors plan complex surgeries to acting as a
visual marker to help search crews following a disaster.
Tractor Beams Of Light -
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Do We Live In A Computer Simulation
Created By An Advanced Alien Civilization?
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We will explore this mind-boggling idea further and examine some intriguing questions.
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Who could have created this matrix and for what reason?
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