US Army to Utilize Squids Inspired 3D-Printed Self-Aware Soft Robots

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The US Army Research Laboratory and the University of Minnesota collaborated to explore the development of soft robots inspired by invertebrates that can easily maneuver around obstacles

US Army uses material that can be bend into any direction when electricity is passed through it. Researchers are utilizing this principle to develop robots, which are capable of natural movements. This technology is inspired by invertebrates such as squids. According to researchers, conventional materials are rigid and limit the movement of robots. The team is working on developing materials that are flexible and can be 3D printed in the middle of the battlefield for recon missions.

This material does not need to be dried, heated or assembled, which makes it a good choice for soldiers in the field. The first draft of the research says the prototypes gave 3D-printed actuators thrice the movement as earlier experiments. Their robot was crafted from a soft, elastic material and is entirely flexible as compared to other robots that have only a few soft parts. They can print out autonomous robots to gather any intel, as and when needed. Michael McAlpine, a professor at the University of Minnesota said “In the initial phase of the project, our team began by investigating new methods for emulating the locomotion of invertebrates, such as squids or octopi.”

Furthermore, the team is working on understanding the interactions to use these insights for making dynamic structures and flexible robots. Once they get the fabrication and movement right, the researchers will be developing the soft robots, which are self-aware and capable of adjusting their morphology in real-time.

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