New self-healing technology makes robots more human-like
The researchers created a special polymer that can make robots repair themselves.
- Scientists are creating robots that can heal themselves.
- Ability to heal is important for soft robots.
- Soft robots can perform delicate operations but can damage easily.
One of the great things about being human is our ability to heal after injuries. If we couldn't regrow skin or mend broken bones, we wouldn't last too long in a world full of hazards. Now researchers are developing self-healing abilities for robots, looking to make them not only last longer but also to be more adaptable to a multitude of applications. The research can also lead to better prosthetics for humans.
You've probably come across Baymax, the robot in Disney's "Big Hero 6". The cuddly inflatable robot's softness is not just a writer's whimsy but is taken from research currently being conducted. The flexibility of soft robots makes them ideal for uses that require picking up delicate objects like a fruit or performing invasive surgery. The softness also makes it less likely that a robot would injure humans who may be working alongside it.
But similar to the humans, the soft robots are more prone to damage whether from sharp objects or too much pressure. To counteract such threats, researchers from the Free University of Brussels (VUB) in Belgium have developed a technology that helps their soft robots completely heal from injuries. The pneumatic robots created by VUB, which included a gripper, a robotic hand and an artificial muscle, were made from rubbery polymers with healing properties. When damage occurs, such jelly-like polymers are able to assume their original shape and fully heal.
Baymax from "Big Hero 6"
To test the robotic elements, the team, led by Professor Bram Vanderborght from VUB, damaged them in a controlled environment. They found that after applying heat, the tears went away without any "weak spots," according to Vanderborght.
"The polymer has lots of different strands that lock together to form the material. When you add heat, they reorganise to stick back together without leaving any weak spots," said Bram Vanderborght.
The professor is optimistic that research like theirs will lead to transformative changes in the robots of the future, adding that "robots can not only be made lighter and safer, they will also be able to work longer independently without requiring constant repairs."
Here is the team's 2017 paper on "Self-healing soft pneumatic robots," published in ScienceRobotics.
Also check out this video demonstrating the self-healing properties of VUB's soft robots:
And if you want to dive in more into the science behind the work, here's a helpful video from Seppe Terryn, the key researcher behind the technology:
- Researchers Create Self-Healing Material for Biologically-Inspired ... ›
- The next generation of strong, self-healing robots are being created ... ›
- Self-Healing, Sensitive Robots: The Future of Robotics ›
- Self-healing material could be a breakthrough for humanoid robots ›
- Next-gen flexible robots move and heal like us | CU Boulder Today ... ›
- Self-Healing Robot Muscles Are Stronger, Faster and More Flexible ... ›
- New Cheap Self-Healing Robotic Muscles Could Make ... ›
- Self-healing electronic skin will help robots have a sense of touch ... ›
- Artificial HASEL Muscle Inspired By Nature Costs 10 Cents to Make ›
- Watch this tiny robot crawl through a wet stomach | TechCrunch ›
- Scientists create Terminator-style robot with self-healing 'flesh' ›
- About this stabbing machine | TechCrunch ›
- Meet The Terrifying New Robot That Was Built Just to Stab People ›
- AI TAKEOVER: Scientists develop SELF-HEALING robots that can ... ›
- Prepare To Be Terrified -- Watch A Hacked Robot Stab A Tomato ... ›
- Stabbing fruits to breaking your skull: robot bugs make hacking too ... ›
- This self-healing robot can regenerate after being stabbed | New ... ›
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.
- Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
- Intersectionality and civic discourse
- How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Irish president believes students need philosophy.
- President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins calls for students to be thought of as more than tools made to be useful.
- Higgins believes that philosophy and history should be a basic requirement forming a core education.
- The Irish Young Philosopher Awards is one such event that is celebrating this discipline among the youth.
The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.
- The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
- Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
- Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.