“Although this transition is irreversible, it carries potential for several robotic applications.”

Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators

#Robots

Sat, Jul 21st, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

IEEE's Spectrum brings to attention the work being done by Steven Ceron at Cornell University who is using pop-corn as a one-time robot actuator.

Popcorn kernels are a natural, edible, and inexpensive material that has the potential to rapidly expand with high force upon application of heat. Although this transition is irreversible, it carries potential for several robotic applications. As kernels can change from regular to (larger) irregular shapes, we examine the change in inter-granular friction and propose their use as granular fluids in jamming actuators, without the need for a vacuum pump. Furthermore, as a proof-of-concept, we also demonstrate the use of popcorn-driven actuation in soft, compliant, and rigidlink grippers. Serving as a first introduction of popcorn into robotics, we hope this paper will inspire novel mechanisms for multi-functional designs.

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