About five years ago, experts from Harvard University introduced the world’s first robot bee, called RoboBee, which, with the improvement of technology, was able to successfully pass several upgrades, learning to plan, to sit on the leaves of trees and even swim. Providing device mechanism with soft actuators, RoboBee has acquired the ability to solo flights with the help of artificial muscles.
A robot that can fly
As the portal news.harvard.edu, Robobee is the world’s first microrobot able to make a managed flight. Equipped with a special material that plays a semblance of a soft muscle, the robot receives almost no substantive damage in the collision with the walls or accidentally dropped. However, the possibility of a significant breakthrough in robotics when using soft actuators have long been discussed by experts as rather dubious ideas due to some difficulties in managing microapparatus.
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In order to increase the chances of success when using the machine, researchers from the United States modernized the technology of production of soft actuator driven by conventional electric power. Greatly improving the device by using dielectric elastomers, which are a special soft materials with good insulation properties, researchers from the Harvard Robobee has achieved efficient operation at a frequency of 500 Hertz, which is comparable with the required working parameters for hard actuators.
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One of the problems that occurs when creating robotic devices of new generation, is considered a strong the fragility and instability of the microrobot in operation. In order to ensure the effective use of soft robot artificial muscle, researchers at Harvard decided to use a lightweight framework that provides, among other things, and the possibility of relatively easy to fly in the air. Tested model with two wings have shown their ability to successfully overcome obstacles and continue flying even after collisions with the same apparatus. This ability can help researchers to improve the technology of flight and to teach miniature robots to penetrate even the most limited space, making them an indispensable tool for search and rescue operations.