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ELEKTRO 12/2021 was released on December 1st 2021. Its digital version will be available immediately.

Topic: Measurement, testing, quality care

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This is PATRICK: Meet the brittle star-inspired robot that can crawl underwater

22. 4. 2020 | Tech Xplore | www.techxplore.com

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have recently created PATRICK, an untethered soft robot that artificially replicates the structure and behavior of the brittle star, a marine invertebrate closely related to starfish. This unique bio-inspired robot, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, can crawl underwater using five legs actuated by shape-memory alloy (SMA) wires.

PATRICK, the robot they developed, has five limbs powered by coils of SMA. SMA is a type of metal with a number of advantageous properties, including a high flexibility at room temperature and a unique behavior when heated. When an electric current is applied to it, in fact, SMA metal rapidly heats up and returns to a shape that it acquired in the past.

Soft robot PATRICK

In addition its high flexibility, Patterson and his colleagues wanted their robot to be able to sense its surrounding environment and choose what direction to move in autonomously. To achieve this, they developed a framework that allows the robot to communicate with devices outside of the water while it is submerged, via wireless communication. This gives PATRICK additional capabilities that do not solely rely on the relatively inexpensive hardware components that make up its body, allowing it to autonomously sense its environment and carry out computations.

Read more at Tech Xplore

Image Credit: Carnegie Mellon University