This robot is growing like a weed… literally

July241027

Most of the time when we picture robots we think of metal, screws, bolts, and hard plastics. But that is not the case for the brand new robot created by Elliot Hawkes of the University of California in Santa Barbara and his team. This robot was inspired by some special plants like vines and fungi that extend shoots to explore their environment. The robot’s body sits inside of a flexible plastic tube with two separate compartments that the robot can inflate with air to navigate its surroundings. A small camera at the end of the tube allows the robot to see where it is going. And this robot was not just designed to look awesome, it can move through extremely small areas or hazardous environments, solve mazes, form 3D shapes like a fire extinguisher, and grow at a rate of meters per second! The inventors hope that in the future robots like this could help navigate dangerous areas and lend a hand in situations that aren’t safe for humans. I love seeing how nature can inspire the future of technology! Keep up the good work guys!

Want to learn more? Visit https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/robot-grows-plant?tgt=nr and http://robotics.sciencemag.org/content/2/8/eaan3028

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