Home » aqueous robot » Liquibots: A liquid robotic system that can operate autonomously
Possibilities

Liquibots: A liquid robotic system that can operate autonomously

The first self-powered aqueous robot that runs continuously without electricity

The first self-powered aqueous robot that runs continuously without electricity

When you think of a robot, images of R2-D2 or C-3PO might come to mind. But robots can serve up more than just entertainment on the big screen. In a lab, for example, robotic systems can improve safety and efficiency by performing repetitive tasks and handling harsh chemicals.

But before a robot can get to work, it needs energy – typically from electricity or a battery. Yet even the most sophisticated robot can run out of juice. For many years, scientists have wanted to make a robot that can work autonomously and continuously, without electrical input.

Now, as reported last week in the journal Nature Chemistry, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have demonstrated just that – through “water-walking” liquid robots that, like tiny submarines, dive below water to retrieve precious chemicals, and then surface to deliver chemicals “ashore” again and again.

In this short video, liquid robots just 2 millimeters in diameter transport chemicals back and forth while partially submerged in solution. (Credit: Ganhua Xie and Tom Russell/Berkeley Lab)

The technology is the first self-powered, aqueous robot that runs continuously without electricity. It has potential as an automated chemical synthesis or drug delivery system for pharmaceuticals.

“We have broken a barrier in designing a liquid robotic system that can operate autonomously by using chemistry to control an object’s buoyancy,” said senior author Tom Russell, a visiting faculty scientist and professor of polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst who leads the Adaptive Interfacial Assemblies Towards Structuring Liquids program in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division.

Russell said that the technology significantly advances a family of robotic devices called “liquibots.” In previous studies, other researchers demonstrated liquibots that autonomously perform a task, but just once; and some liquibots can perform a task continuously, but need electricity to keep on running. In contrast, “we don’t have to provide electrical energy because our liquibots get their power or ‘food’ chemically from the surrounding media,” Russell explained.

Through a series of experiments in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, Russell and first author Ganhua Xie, a former postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab who is now a professor at Hunan University in China, learned that “feeding” the liquibots salt makes the liquibots heavier or denser than the liquid solution surrounding them.

Additional experiments by co-investigators Paul Ashby and Brett Helms at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry revealed how the liquibots transport chemicals back and forth.

Because they are denser than the solution, the liquibots – which look like little open sacks, and are just 2 millimeters in diameter – cluster in the middle of the solution where they fill up with select chemicals. This triggers a reaction that generates oxygen bubbles, which like little balloons lift the liquibot up to the surface.

Another reaction pulls the liquibots to the rim of a container, where they “land” and offload their cargo.

The liquibots go back and forth, like the pendulum of a clock, and can run continuously as long as there is “food” in the system.

Depending on their formulation, an array of liquibots could carry out different tasks simultaneously. For example, some liquibots could detect different types of gas in the environment, while others react to specific types of chemicals. The technology may also enable autonomous, continuous robotic systems that screen small chemical samples for clinical applications, or drug discovery and drug synthesis applications.

Russell and Xie next plan to investigate how to scale up the technology for larger systems, and explore how it would work on solid surfaces.

 

Original Article: These Tiny Liquid Robots Never Run Out of Juice as Long as They Have Food

More from: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | University of Massachusetts

 

The Latest on: Self-powered aqueous robot

  • Sleek & futuristic Neabot Q11 auto-empty robot vacuum has a pre-Prime Day deal
    on July 1, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    Neabot probably isn’t the first name you think of when you think of robot vacuums. That might change now, however, as soon as you check out the incredible new Neabot Q11 robot vacuum. High-end robot ...

  • Cook Up Your Own High-Temperature Superconductors
    on June 30, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    By boiling down an aqueous solution of the three components, a thick sludge results that eventually self-ignites in a spectacular way. The YBCO residue is cooked in a kiln with oxygen blowing over ...

  • Nasa unveils swarm of alien-hunting robots
    on June 30, 2022 at 4:09 am

    The robots would be packed into an ice-melting probe that sinks through the miles-thick icy shell of planets, before a mechanism releases them underwater to take measurements of the ...

  • AI-Powered Surgical Robot Excels at Tricky Kidney Stone Procedure
    on June 23, 2022 at 12:47 am

    Clinical researchers at Nagoya City University in Japan have tested an AI-powered surgical robot in its ability to assist with percutaneous nephrolithotomy, which is a minimally invasive procedure to ...

  • The physicochemical nature of colloidal motion waves among silver colloids
    on June 8, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Traveling waves are commonly observed in biological and synthetic systems, and recent discoveries have shown how silver colloids form traveling motion waves in hydrogen peroxide under UV light.

  • Pantec’s Painless Laser Epidermal System for Drug Delivery Gets European Green Light
    on June 1, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    From the product page: A handheld laser device creates controlled aqueous micropores in the epidermis. Due to the special features of the device the micropores do not reach the dermis, where ...

  • A New Method For Growing Watch Springs
    on May 19, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    The technique involves using photo-etching and electrochemical deposition into cold, aqueous solutions. Compared to drawing and winding Nivarox wires, this is a fairly unconventional method for ...

  • Assembly and Automation
    on May 17, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    A robot and workcell controller enable plastics processors to ... The heat placement produces tips with smooth surface finishes and strong welds. PIRF III features power for multiple-part tipping for ...

  • Building a Better World With Chemicals
    on September 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Take solar power. In the 113 years between the discovery of the physics ... Ryan Dirkx: We have a polymer based on vegetable oil that is self-healing. You can cut this material and put it back ...

via Bing News

The Latest on: Self-powered aqueous robot

via Google News

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your thoughtful comments are most welcome!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.