A little shape-shifting robot –

Talking about a melting or shape-shifting robot might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the fact is that the team that created it really took inspiration from the sea cucumber, a sea critter. Speaking to Science News’ McKenzie Prillaman, senior author and mechanical engineer Carmel Majidi of Carnegie Mellon University stated:

“Sea cucumbers can change their stiffness very quickly and reversibly. The challenge for us as engineers is to replicate that in the soft materials systems.”

We all know that traditional robots are quite stiff and heavy. Therefore, it is difficult to make them in tight locations. On the other hand, soft robots are quite flexible, so they tend to be weaker and more difficult to manage. With all this in mind, the team set out to develop a material that can switch between the liquid and solid state and is both strong and flexible.

Reports claim that the researchers used a robot composed of gallium to do this. Gallium is a metal with a low melting point of 86 degrees Fahrenheit and magnetic particles that allowed scientists to use magnets to make the robots move, melt or stretch.

In a series of tests, the new little soft robot was able to climb walls, solder a printed circuit board, even jump up to 20 times its body height and escape from a simulated prison. Isn’t it great? According to the research, the robot can carry an object 30 times heavier in a solid state.

This latest robot or technology could have applications in the biomedical industry, according to researchers. With this robot they even got a ball out of a model’s stomach. The solid-form robot was able to quickly approach the ball. Then it liquefied, encircled the ball, and then coalesced back into a solid, transporting the object out of the model. The point worth noting is that the researchers used gallium for this test. However, the actual temperature of a human stomach is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is higher than the melting point of the metal, so they have to raise the melting point by adding more metals.

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Amir Hussain

Amir Hussain is the founder of Freemium World, a geek by nature and a professional Blog writer . I love to write about new technology trends, social media, hacking, blogging and much more.

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