Squishy Robotic Manta Ray Flaps Its Wings To Spy In The Ocean
Robots are increasingly being constructed from soft, stretchy materials to make them more resilient and more compatible with living beings. However, powering them without traditional hard-edged circuit boards and motors is a challenge.
To get around using a motor in the manta-ray-inspired robot, Li and his colleagues made artificial fin muscles from a flexible polymer called dielectric elastomer. A silicone-encased lithium battery supplies a cyclic voltage that squeezes and releases that material, causing the muscles to bend up and down. This flaps the ray’s fins, made of a thin silicone film, so that it moves through the water.
The rest of the remotely controlled robot – which weighs 90 grams and has a wing span of 22 centimetres – is made of a silicone body and tail for steering. All components are transparent, except for the small battery pack and two electromagnets that help to manoeuvre the tail.
Read the full article here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2126924-squishy-robotic-manta-ray-flaps-its-wings-to-spy-in-the-ocean/