While typical robots carry bulky single-purpose parts to deliver energy, such as: As a battery or gears, the newly developed lionfish has a unique circulatory system that provides both energy and propulsion. The "blood" that is pumped around the system includes an electrolyte solution that acts both as a hydraulic fluid and as an energy store. The result? A more lifelike creature that could swim for long periods of up to 36 hours ̵
The researchers – a team of scientists from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania – say that something similar has never been done before: it is the first experiment combining hydraulic power transmission, actuation, and energy storage in a single multipurpose system were. While development will undoubtedly serve to give more functionality to soft robots, the researchers believe they could be used in all machines that require fluids. For example, this "smart blood" could boost the performance of electric vehicles and airplanes. In any case, we have come one step closer to truly lifelike robots and the associated challenges and opportunities.