Lead researchers Anette Hosoi and Nadia Cheng from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, showcase a new phase-changing material that can switch between hard and soft states. The material can be used to build robots that could squeeze through tight spots or become rigid to "exert a reasonable amount of force on its surroundings."
[...] if a robot is going to perform meaningful tasks, it needs to be able to exert a reasonable amount of force on its surroundings, she says. “You can’t just create a bowl of Jell-O, because if the Jell-O has to manipulate an object, it would simply deform without applying significant pressure to the thing it was trying to move.”
What’s more, controlling a very soft structure is extremely difficult: It is much harder to predict how the material will move, and what shapes it will form, than it is with a rigid robot.
So the researchers decided that the only way to build a deformable robot would be to develop a material that can switch between a soft and hard state, Hosoi says. “If you’re trying to squeeze under a door, for example, you should opt for a soft state, but if you want to pick up a hammer or open a window, you need at least part of the machine to be rigid,” she says.
|The New Rules of Robot/Human Society|
|"The idea is to get the robot to load your dishwasher."|
|How a Tesla Model S is Made|
|How Robots Think: An Introduction|
|Robotic Grippers Use Static Electricity to Pick Up Objects|
|“Tesla's Model S has outsold traditional high-end models from established European brands.”|
|“A modern trade route between Asia and Europe is under construction.”|
|The 24 Carrot Cake|
|"A cuckoo making an appearance every millennium."|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“How do you communicate wirelessly with WiFi using only plastic?”|
|“There are over a billion people who have no access to energy what-so-ever.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars.”|
|“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?"|