Aquatic Robot Created By Northwestern University Researchers


Credit: Samuel I. Stupp Laboratory/Northwestern University

By: Abigail Romero, Reporter

Northwestern University Researchers have created a aquatic soft robot, inspired by sea creatures. It is quite a small robot, one centimeter, but can walk at the speed of a human, move cargo, roll, and if that’s not enough it can also break-dance to remove an object that it carries, but this robot can do much more it can help catalyze chemical reaction then pump out valuable products, and the robot could also be molecularly designed to recognize and remove unwanted particles that are in environments. Powered by light and walking towards an external rotating magnetic field, this robot is the first-of-its-kind. The robot is 90 percent water, with a nickel skeleton inside it which is ferromagnetic.

Samuel Stupp led the experimental research. “By combining walking and steering motions together, we can program specific sequences of magnetic fields, which remotely operate the robot and direct it to follow paths on flat or inclined surfaces,” said Monica Olvera de la Cruz, who led the theoretical work. The soft component is a molecularly

Credit: Samuel I. Stupp Laboratory/Northwestern University

designed network that allows it to respond to light, hold water or release water, and respond to magnetic fields. When the robot is exposed to light the molecules repel water which makes the robot stand up. When the light turns off the molecules go back to normal so the robot lays flat.

In the future, This small aquatic robot could be used to make objects for chemical production or new tools for the environment or as biomaterials for medicine