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Pasta-like robots have learned to navigate mazes on their own

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Pasta-like robots have learned to navigate mazes on their own
North Carolina State University specialists, together with colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania, have created soft robots that look like fusilli pasta. These creatures are able to navigate independently in labyrinths without operator commands and the availability of specialized software. The ability to move without assistance is achieved through the use of smart components and special temperature conditions.

Pasta-like robots have learned to navigate mazes on their own


The design of the robot is a highly elastic polymer in the form of a twisted tape. When on a surface heated to 55 degrees Celsius above the air temperature, the contacting part of the tape begins to shrink, and the remaining fragment remains unchanged. Due to this, the robot is able to roll. To overcome obstacles, it acts like this: upon contact with an obstacle, the device begins to rotate and wriggle. When the main component of the robot touches the barrier, a kind of “snap” is activated, when, due to the surge of accumulated energy, the robot jumps and changes position before landing. This manipulation can occur several times until finding the orientation that will make it possible to overcome the obstacle.

According to one of the authors of the invention, assistant professor of mechanical engineering Jie Yin, thanks to this development, scientists can get an idea of ​​\u200b\u200bhow soft robots can borrow thermal energy from the environment and independently overcome difficult, unstructured conditions, for example, roads and arid deserts. A group of researchers has already conducted numerous tests of the pasta-like robot, during which the product overcame labyrinths. In the future, the device is quite capable of coping with the harsh conditions of deserts and loose sand dunes.
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