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Researchers create 3D-printed, sweating robot muscle

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soft robot hand

 

Just when it seemed like robots couldn’t get any cooler, Cornell researchers have created a soft robot muscle that can regulate its temperature through sweating.

 

This form of thermal management is a basic building block for enabling untethered, high-powered robots to operate for long periods of time without overheating, according to the Rob Shepherd, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, who led the project.

 

The team’s paper, “Autonomic Perspiration in 3D Printed Hydrogel Actuators,” published Jan. 29 in Science Robotics.

 

One of the hurdles for making enduring, adaptable and agile robots is managing the robots’ internal temperature, according to Shepherd, the paper’s senior author. If the high-torque density motors and exothermic engines that power a robot overheat, the robot will cease to operate.

 

This is a particular issue for soft robots, which are made of synthetic materials. While more flexible, they hold their heat, unlike metals, which dissipate heat quickly. An internal cooling technology, such as a fan, may not be much help because it would take up space inside the robot and add weight.

 

So Shepherd’s team took inspiration from the natural cooling system that exists in mammals: sweating.

 

The above text was printed from an external website. View the full article

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