For a long time, scientists envisioned creating micro-robots that could move in environments that were accessible to humans or very dangerous but it was impossible to find any way to maintain their power and mobility.RoBeetle insect-size microbot runs on methanol
A team from the University of Southern California has now made a breakthrough, creating an 88 mg (three-thirds ounce) “Robitel” that uses methanol to run and uses an artificial muscle system to crawl, climb and continue on the back. Load up to two hours.
Its inventor Yang Shiufeng told AFP that it was only 15 millimeters (0.6 inches) long, making it “one of the lightest and smallest autonomous robots in history.”
The problem is that most robots need heavy and electric motors, which in turn requires batteries. The small battery found is 10 to 20 times heavier than the tiger insect, the team is a 50 mg insect that the team uses as a reference point.To overcome this problem, Young and his colleagues developed an artificial muscle system based on liquid fuel in this case, the energy storage capacity of methanol is 10 times greater than that of batteries of the same mass. Unlike most metals made and stretched with “muscle” nitinol wire (also called nitinol), the nitinol wire shrinks when it is compressed.
RoBeetle insect-size microbot runs on methanol Review
Science Robotics Robitol Insect-sized miniature robots are powered by methanol (a type of alcohol). Compared to batteries, this component allows insect-sized micro-robots to hold a lot of power per unit volume. In fact, these insect-sized microbots do not require additional external energy sources. Once this is done, this gadget will run on its own like an insect in real life. It contains tiny artificial muscles that contract and relax.
Therefore, it can run smoothly and realistically. To increase its moving force, the nitinol wire accelerates the combustion of methanol vapor. After heating, the robot’s legs can move. It weighs only 8 milligrams, which is very light but the weight of the object it can hold is three times its own weight. It can carry 95 mg of fuel and run for two hours.
RoBeetle insect-size microbot runs on methanol Features
The welding wire is coated with platinum powder, which acts as a catalyst for the combustion of methanol vapor. As more beetle tank steam ignites in the platinum powder, the wire shrinks and more micro-valves are attached to stop further burning.
Then, the wire cools and expands, which opens the valve again and repeats the process until all the fuel has been used. The stretched and contracted prosthetic muscles are attached to the front legs of the rabbits through a transmission mechanism, causing them to crawl.
The team tested his robot on a variety of flat and inclined surfaces made of smooth materials (such as glass) and rough materials (such as mattresses). The Ro robitol can carry up to 2.6 times its own weight and can withstand. It takes hours. In comparison, “the smallest battery-powered crawling robot weighs 1 gram and lasts about 12 minutes.”
In the future, micro-robots could be used for a variety of applications, such as infrastructural inspections after natural disasters or search and rescue missions. They can help with tasks such as artificial pollination or environmental monitoring.
MIT and Harvard University roboticians, including Ryan Trubby and Lee Shuguang Lee, wrote in comments that Robitol is an “exciting milestone in micro-robots,” but he added that there is room for improvement. For example, robots are limited in their ability to move continuously, and eliminating electronic devices will reduce their ability to perform complex tasks.
RoBeetle insect-size microbot runs on methanol Specification
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