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This soft robot imitates plant tendons for crawling and climbing



Metal Vine

Soft robots have taken a page from the Plant Game Book. Scientists at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Genoa (Italy) have developed a soft robot with similar physical properties to plants that is able to crawl and climb like plant vines. Their research, published last week in the journal Nature Communications, could lead to a new generation of soft robots and portable technologies, such as: B. bracelets that can change their shape.

Smarty Plants

I do not often think of plant movement. One of the most commonly reported examples of plant movement could be the closing of leaves in a carnivorous Venus flytrap. But many plant species are moving, their movement is only in the direction in which they grow slowly. To control their growth, plants use water transport or osmosis in their cells.

IIT's soft robot, which has a flexible polyethylene body filled with ions, mimics this process. With a low-voltage battery, the flow of electrically charged liquid within the robot can be directed to one side or the other. The movement of the liquid causes the robot to move in the wake so that it winds and crawls like a plant vine. It is easy enough to unwind the robot by reversing the charge.


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