Science News

The grand challenges of Science Robotics

One of the ambitions of Science Robotics is to deeply root robotics research in science while developing novel robotic platforms that will enable new scientific discoveries. Of our 10 grand challenges, the first 7 represent underpinning technologies that have a wider impact on all application areas of robotics. For the next two challenges, we have included social robotics and medical robotics as application-specific areas of development to highlight the substantial societal and health impacts that they will bring. Finally, the last challenge is related to responsible innovation and how ethics and security should be carefully considered as we develop the technology further.

Source: Sciencemag.org – Science Robotics Latest Content

Hygrobot: A self-locomotive ratcheted actuator powered by environmental humidity

Microrobots that are light and agile yet require no artificial power input can be widely used in medical, military, and industrial applications. As an actuation system to drive such robots, here we report a biologically inspired bilayer structure that harnesses the environmental humidity energy, with ratchets to rectify the motion. We named this actuator-ratchet system the hygrobot. The actuator uses a hygroscopically responsive film consisting of aligned nanofibers produced by directional electrospinning, which quickly swells and shrinks in lengthwise direction in response to the change of humidity. The ratchets based on asymmetric friction coefficients rectify oscillatory bending motion in a directional locomotion. We mathematically analyzed the mechanical response of the hygrobot, which allowed not only prediction of its performance but also the optimal design to maximize the locomotion speed given geometric and environmental constraints. The hygrobot sterilized a trail across an agar plate without any artificial energy supply.

Source: Sciencemag.org – Science Robotics Latest Content

The milliDelta: A high-bandwidth, high-precision, millimeter-scale Delta robot

Delta robots have been widely used in industrial contexts for pick-and-place applications because of their high precision and speed. These qualities are also desirable at the millimeter scale for applications such as vibration cancellation in microsurgery and microassembly or micromanipulation. Developing a millimeter-scale Delta robot that maintains the characteristic input-output behavior and operates with high speed and precision requires overcoming manufacturing and actuation challenges. We present the design, fabrication, and characterization of an adapted Delta robot at the millimeter scale (the “milliDelta”) that leverages printed circuit microelectromechanical system manufacturing techniques and is driven by three independently controlled piezoelectric bending actuators. We validated the design of the milliDelta, where two nonintersecting perpendicular revolute joints were used to replace an ideal universal joint. In addition, a transmission linkage system for actuation was introduced to the laminate structure of the milliDelta. This 15 millimeter–by–15 millimeter–by–20 millimeter robot has a total mass of 430 milligrams and a payload capacity of 1.31 grams and operates with precision down to ~5 micrometers in a 7.01-cubic-millimeter workspace. In addition, the milliDelta can follow periodic trajectories at frequencies up to 75 hertz, experiencing velocities of ~0.45 meters per second and accelerations of ~215 meters per squared second. We demonstrate its potential utility for high-bandwidth, high-precision applications that require a compact design.

Source: Sciencemag.org – Science Robotics Latest Content