Sci-fi fans will know that the Terminator was nothing but a ruthless killing machine due to its ability to effortlessly heal itself after damage.
Now, engineers at Cornell University in New York may be well on their way to recreating this remarkable self-healing ability.
Experts have created a robot that can detect when and where it has been damaged and then restore itself on the spot.
The limp little robot, which looks like a four-legged starfish, uses light to detect changes to its surface created by the cuts.
The little robot, which looks like a starfish, is able to detect when and where it has been damaged and then heal itself
How it works?
For self-healing to work, the robot must be able to identify that there is something that needs fixing.
To do this, the researchers used fiber optic sensors coupled with LED lights capable of detecting minute changes in the surface of the robot.
These sensors are associated with a polyurethane urea elastomer which incorporates hydrogen bonds, for rapid chemical healing.
The resulting SHeaLDS – self-healing light guides for dynamic sensing – provide a flexible, damage-resistant robot that can self-heal from cuts at room temperature without any external intervention.
After the researchers punctured one of its legs, the robot was able to detect the damage and self-heal the incisions.
“Our lab is always trying to make robots more durable and agile, so they can work longer with more capabilities,” said Professor Rob Shepherd of Cornell University.
“If you run robots for a long time, they will accumulate damage. And so, how can we allow them to repair or deal with this damage? »
Although not indestructible, Shepherd said the new starfish robot – which is only about five inches long – has properties similar to human flesh.
“You don’t heal well from the burn, or things with acid or heat, because that will change the chemical properties,” he said.
“But we can do a good job of healing cuts.”
The team’s X-shaped robot crawls like a starfish thanks to compressed air being pumped through its body.
It’s covered in a layer of self-healing fiber optic sensors, which are coupled to LED lights capable of detecting tiny changes to its surface.
In fiber optic sensors, light from an LED is sent through a structure called an optical waveguide, which guides the light beam in a certain direction.
Also in the robot is a photodiode, which detects changes in light intensity to determine when and where the material is deformed.
For the actual healing process, they used a polyurethane-urea elastomer for its “skin,” a transparent, elastic material that incorporates hydrogen bonds.
Terminators are able to repair themselves. Pictured is Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
After researchers punctured one of its legs, the robot was able to detect the damage and self-heal the cuts
A limp robot can sweat like humans
Robots were created by scientists who “sweat” like humans during demanding tasks to keep them from overheating.
Researchers have developed a technique that allows machines to “sweat out” coolant stored around the component responsible for moving and controlling the system.
Robots and machines generate heat as a by-product during tasks, but it can cause it to malfunction if it doesn’t cool down.
When cut, its exposed sides become chemically reactive, triggering the interlocking polymer chains to reorganize so that it heals.
The researchers say their technology called SHeaLDS – “self-healing light guides for dynamic sensing” – enables a flexible, damage-resistant robot that can self-heal from cuts at room temperature without any external intervention.
During their experiments, they punctured one of the bot’s legs six times, after which the robot was able to detect the damage, self-heal each cut in about a minute, and keep moving.
The robot could also adapt its gait autonomously depending on the damage it detects, such as “the flight reaction of animals in the face of danger”.
The team now wants to integrate the bot with machine learning algorithms that can recognize different “touch events” that could damage it.
“Combined with advances in artificial intelligence, SHeaLDS presents a path to more durable and adaptive robots,” they state in their paper published in the journal Science Advances.
“Damage intelligence is essential in damage-prone environments, such as space suits and monitoring supersonic parachutes in space, as well as applications where device longevity is preferred, such as wearable devices. for human-computer interaction.
The robot is covered in a layer of self-healing fiber optic sensors, which are coupled to LED lights capable of detecting tiny changes on its surface
Typically, soft robots are constructed from flexible materials, modeled after the soft tissues that humans and other organisms are made of.
The problem is that the soft materials used make them susceptible to damage from sharp objects or excessive pressure.
With self-healing, robots could potentially repair soft-body systems in certain environments, such as spacesuits impacted by space debris or underwater equipment.
Further development of technology could also allow Terminator-style killer robots, designed for the battlefield, to repair damage sustained in battle.
Soft robots mimic living tissue to enable them to perform human tasks better
Soft robots are systems constructed from materials with mechanical properties similar to those of living tissue.
#Soft robots are built from flexible materials, inspired by the soft tissues from which humans and many other organisms are made.
Their flexibility allows them to be used for a wide variety of applications, from gripping delicate and soft objects in the food industry to performing minimally invasive surgery.
They could also play an important role in creating realistic prostheses.
However, the soft materials also make them susceptible to damage from sharp objects or excessive pressure.
Damaged components must then be replaced to prevent the robot from ending up as scrap.
In 2017, experts from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) said they had created a synthetic skin that aims to mimic nature’s self-repair abilities, allowing robots to recover from “injuries” sustained in exercise. of their functions.
Professor Bram Vanderborght from BruBotics VUB, who has worked on the plastic, said: “The research results show promising prospects.
“Robots can not only be made lighter and safer, but they will also be able to work autonomously for longer without the need for constant repairs.”
To create their synthetic flesh, the scientists used gel-like polymers that melt together when heated and then cooled.
When damaged, these materials first return to their original shape and then heal completely.
This principle has been applied in three self-healing robotic components; a gripper, a robot hand and an artificial muscle.
These resilient pneumatic components have been damaged under controlled conditions to test whether the scientific principle also works in practice.
#Terminatorstyle #robot #survive #stabbed