Cool Cucumber-Inspired Actuators for Robots
Actuators modeled on cucumber plants for better robot movement
Nature is a constant source of inspiration for engineers and scientists who try to replicate its efficient and elegant design into useful creations. One recent example is a new type of actuator that takes cues from the movements of cucumber plants. Because plants move and respond to their environments in slower, more fluid ways than robots, researchers hypothesized that this capability could be appropriated to create fresh breakthroughs in robotics.
The potential of cucumber-inspired actuators in robotics
These biologically-inspired actuators use water pressure to help robots move in more natural ways. By mimicking the way in which cucumber plants use internal turgor pressure to move, the innovative actuators can help robots make complex movements in almost any direction with a minimum amount of resistance. The move is being heralded as a way to help produce more lifelike movements in robotics and provide better fine motor control.
Applications of cucumber-inspired actuators
These new actuators have great potential in applications beyond robotics. There are instances in which devices may need to move in a more fluid, less herky-jerky manner, and the cucumber-inspired actuators could provide innovative solutions in such cases. Additionally, these more naturally moving devices could be used in inhospitable environments, which can require significant innovation to produce components that can stand up to extreme conditions.
Summary of the article
Researchers have created new cucumber-inspired actuators that bring the benefits of the plants’ fluid movements to robotics. These actuators make use of turgor pressure to support smoother, more lifelike movements in robots. The technology has a variety of potential applications in addition to robotics.Original Article: https://www.wired.com/story/this-artificial-muscle-moves-stuff-on-its-own/