What is caterpillar like soft robots?
A soft caterpillar-like robot with the ability to move forward, backward, and dive beneath small openings. The caterpillar-bot moves thanks to a new arrangement of silver nanowires that use heat to control how the robot bends, allowing users to lead it in either direction.
How it is moving and working?
The movement of a caterpillar is controlled by its body’s local curvature; its body curves differently when it drags itself forward than when it pushes itself backward. We used nanowire heaters to regulate comparable curvature and movement in the caterpillar-bot, drawing inspiration from the caterpillar’s biomechanics.
Which impaired its movement?
We exhibited the caterpillar-bot’s ability to pull itself forward and push itself backward. In general, the higher the current applied, the faster it moved in any direction. However, we discovered an ideal cycle that allowed the polymer to cool, effectively allowing the’muscle’ to rest before contracting again. If we cycled the caterpillar-bot too quickly, the body did not have time to’relax’ before contracting again, causing it to travel poorly.
This method of driving motion in a soft robot is highly energy efficient, and we’re interested in exploring ways to make it even more efficient. Other next steps include integrating this method of soft robot locomotion with sensors or other technologies for use in various applications, such as search-and-rescue devices.