Soft Robots Will Become Faster with the Hair Clip Mechanism



Soft robots will become faster than the tickle tackle of a humble hair clip, it’s quite amazing!

Robotics and its varied forms have improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade. Robots can naturally gesture, grasp objects, touch, feel, and even smile in certain situations. These actions, though, generated artificially develop a realization among us that robotics is the future and there is no going back from these developments. Today’s robots are a major part of our everyday lives and their further developments are only increasing their chances of becoming more efficient and productive. Recent experiments prove that soft robots will become faster as compared to the tick-tack of a flimsy hair clip.

For a soft robot to be more practical, it has to be simple, light, and energy-efficient, yet extremely reasonable and quick. A newly developed mechanism that fits the requirements for making soft robots faster is the hair clip mechanism (HCM). The theory is developed by a team of scientists from Colombia University who are utilizing the mechanisms of a hair clip to make robots faster than that.

Currently, the device consists of a strip of prestressed semi-rigid plastic with a simple electric servo at the base. Each time that servo applies a small amount of pressure to the plastic, the whole strip responds by swiftly moving from one of its stable states to the other, increasing the applied force. This setup requires a very small amount of electricity to produce a lot of fast movement, but it also allows the robot to double its propulsion. At the end of this, the robot is less mechanically complex, less expensive to build, and lighter than it traditionally is.

While testing the technology, the researchers created a swimming robotic fish that uses a single-servo HCM to flap its tail, along with a quadruped robot that uses a two-servo HCM to gallop across flat surfaces.


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