X

EU Visitor Notice: This Website Uses Cookies

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, to provide analytical data to better serve our visitors, and to serve advertising to fund our operations. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie Policy.

Your preference will be saved for 90 days, or until you clear your browser cookies.


I AGREE
I DISAGREE
Learn More
Cool Gadgets, Gizmos, Games and Geek Stuff on Technabob
VISIT OUR OTHER SITES: THE AWESOMER | 95OCTANE

Miniature Machine Controlled by Heat and Electromagnetic Fields: TermiNature

by Lambert Varias
Advertisement

Last year we looked at Harvard University’s prototype for a robot that folds itself up from a flat shape into a spider-like form when exposed to heat. This small…device invented by MIT and TU Munich researchers has a similar feature, but I don’t know if I should call it a robot.

miniature_origami_robot_by_MIT_and_TU_Munich_1zoom in

This “miniature origami robot” is nothing but a neodymium magnet and thin layers of PVC encased in paper or polystyrene body. As with Harvard University’s bot, this tiny worker’s body has been laser cut such that it will fold itself into shape when exposed to heat.

Instead of a motor, this tiny transformer is controlled by electromagnetic coils positioned beneath the operating surface. The coils generate an electromagnetic field that causes the magnet inside the machine to shake. That shaking coupled with the magnet’s off-center position inside the machine and the machine’s asymmetrical shape causes the whole thing to skitter about.

Thus, this mindless package of reactive materials can be made to walk, climb, swim and carry or push other objects. When you’re done using it, you can steer it into a vat of acetone to destroy its body while leaving the magnet inside intact for further use.

I’m not a roboticist, but it seems to me like this is not really a robot but a clever application of programmable materials. It could be part of a robotic system if the machine that handles EM coils are programmable, but if this is a robot then I guess we can call iron filings robots too. Semantics aside, I think these kinds of stimuli-responding devices – stimborgs? – have a lot of potential and are just as fascinating as programmed machines.

[via IEEE via Gizmodo]

Deals in The Technabob Shop



Bohemian Rhapsody on Boomwhackers

Bohemian Rhapsody on Boomwhackers

If You Lived 1000 Years

If You Lived 1000 Years

O Human Being

O Human Being

Advertisement
McLaren 720S Spider Lets the Sun Shine In

McLaren 720S Spider Lets the Sun Shine In

Russian Aviar R67 EV Looks Like a 1967 Mustang, But is Anything But

Russian Aviar R67 EV Looks Like a 1967 Mustang, But is Anything But

Leaked BMW Z4 Pricing Doesn’t Bode Well for Supra Fans

Leaked BMW Z4 Pricing Doesn’t Bode Well for Supra Fans