A Wheeled Robot Driven by a Liquid‐Metal Droplet

A palm-sized robot has been made with a drop of liquid metal in a plastic wheel. The robot’s wheel rolls when the liquid metal changes the center of gravity, which is controlled by altering the voltage through the embedded battery.

The researchers expect to further develop soft robots using liquid metal. They could be used in special missions such as searching for and rescuing earthquake victims, since they can change shape to slide under doors or make it through spaces humans can’t get into.

The controlled actuation of gallium liquid‐metal (LM) alloys has presented new and exciting opportunities for constructing mobile robots with structural flexibility. However, the locomotion of current LM‐based actuators often relies on inducing a gradient of interfacial tension on the LM surface within electrolytes, which limits their application outside a liquid environment. In this work, a wheeled robot using a LM droplet as the core of the driving system is developed that enables it to move outside liquid environment. The LM droplet inside the robot is actuated using a voltage to alter the robot’s center of gravity, which in turn generates a rolling torque and induces continuous locomotion at a steady speed. A series of experiments is carried out to examine the robot’s performance and then to develop a dynamic model using the Lagrange method to understand the locomotion. An untethered and self‐powered wheeled robot that utilizes mini‐lithium‐batteries is also demonstrated. This study is envisaged to have the potential to expand current research on LM‐based actuators to realize future complex robotic systems.

Advanced Materials – A Wheeled Robot Driven by a Liquid‐Metal Droplet

14 thoughts on “A Wheeled Robot Driven by a Liquid‐Metal Droplet”

  1. Interesting development from Chinese researchers.With each passing month their sci-tech developments are becoming more cutting edge and groundbraking.If USA government won’t increase their R&D spending on science (mainly basic science) at least by 50%, China will catch up in scale and quality of sci-tech research by 2020.China already catched up in scale and by news like this and other from just last week( artificial moon development, longest carbon nanotubes, cell sized graphene nanorobots and more) which Brian is digging from the web, we can see that they’re improving quality very fast.

    Reply
  2. As we are getting super rich and productive(by todays standards) in next decades, when PPP GDP per capita will be approaching 200k, I think that in developed countries(at least in East Asia) they will be increasing R&D spending significantly, maybe even to more than 10% to speed up progress. They respect education much more and in general are a lot more interested in STEM than young generations in Western societies, so they won’t have problems with tons of ideas to research and leapfrogging West quite fast.West don’t have much chances in keeping up with developed China simply because of 2 reasons.Much smaller population than China, which won’t be growing and much smaller interest in STEM subjects than in EA countries, especially China.Although China has 4,2 larger population than US, they’re currently training almost 9 times more scientists per year than US and numbers are growing. Soon will ba 10 times more. In other words in next 3 years China will inject into its “system” more additional scientists and engineers than USA did in last 30 years. And this process will repeat every 3 years. With PPP already biggest in the world and growing almost 10% per year, they will have plenty of resources to fund enormous amount of research and development, iovation. And that’s good, we will progress as humanity and solve biggest challenges much faster. I do not care from which country progress and iovation comes. It comes from humans and we’re all brothers. We will all benefit from these increased number of developments.”Do you think places like Africa are full of people with ideas to improve carbon nanotubes who just need funding?”Of course not, you’re right education is basic. I was thinking about only highly developed, rich countries which can afford such increases easily and are already post industrial level economies not those who are struggling with basics like lack of infrastucture and food security.

    Reply
  3. You can’t just fund R & D infinitely, you need a idea first before you get funding. If the answer to a strong country is just fund R & D every country would raise taxes to 80% and dump everything into research.A researcher submits a proposal (but in reality anyone can submit a proposal even if you don’t have a PHD) , the proposal requests money to buy equipment, hire staff etc… and you need to be very clear what you are spending the money on. So lets say graphene nanorobots, in your proposal you need to request the custom made machines that will build them, the additional staff needed as well as the benefits of the research.The US government’s issues comes from below, at the level of elementary education and societal culture. A culture of ignorance and anti intellectualism has been prevalent for almost half a century. 8 year old kids are talking about doing drugs, popping caps, and banging ho’sDo you think places like Africa are full of people with ideas to improve carbon nanotubes who just need funding? If you have a good idea, you don’t need the government to fund it, private industry will. China has a abundance of researchers with a abundance of good ideas, their test scores in math and science are the highest and they train quality PHD’s

    Reply
  4. Interesting development from Chinese researchers.With each passing month their sci-tech developments are becoming more cutting edge and groundbraking.If USA government won’t increase their R&D spending on science (mainly basic science) at least by 50%, China will catch up in scale and quality of sci-tech research by 2020.China already catched up in scale and by news like this and other from just last week( artificial moon development, longest carbon nanotubes, cell sized graphene nanorobots and more) which Brian is digging from the web, we can see that they’re improving quality very fast.

    Reply
  5. As we are getting super rich and productive(by todays standards) in next decades, when PPP GDP per capita will be approaching 200k, I think that in developed countries(at least in East Asia) they will be increasing R&D spending significantly, maybe even to more than 10% to speed up progress.

    They respect education much more and in general are a lot more interested in STEM than young generations in Western societies, so they won’t have problems with tons of ideas to research and leapfrogging West quite fast.

    West don’t have much chances in keeping up with developed China simply because of 2 reasons.
    Much smaller population than China, which won’t be growing and much smaller interest in STEM subjects than in EA countries, especially China.

    Although China has 4,2 larger population than US, they’re currently training almost 9 times more scientists per year than US and numbers are growing. Soon will ba 10 times more. In other words in next 3 years China will inject into its “system” more additional scientists and engineers than USA did in last 30 years. And this process will repeat every 3 years. With PPP already biggest in the world and growing almost 10% per year, they will have plenty of resources to fund enormous amount of research and development, innovation.

    And that’s good, we will progress as humanity and solve biggest challenges much faster.
    I do not care from which country progress and innovation comes. It comes from humans and we’re all brothers. We will all benefit from these increased number of developments.

    “Do you think places like Africa are full of people with ideas to improve carbon nanotubes who just need funding?”
    Of course not, you’re right education is basic. I was thinking about only highly developed, rich countries which can afford such increases easily and are already post industrial level economies not those who are struggling with basics like lack of infrastucture and food security.

    Reply
  6. You can’t just fund R & D infinitely, you need a idea first before you get funding. If the answer to a strong country is just fund R & D every country would raise taxes to 80% and dump everything into research.
    A researcher submits a proposal (but in reality anyone can submit a proposal even if you don’t have a PHD) , the proposal requests money to buy equipment, hire staff etc… and you need to be very clear what you are spending the money on. So lets say graphene nanorobots, in your proposal you need to request the custom made machines that will build them, the additional staff needed as well as the benefits of the research.
    The US government’s issues comes from below, at the level of elementary education and societal culture. A culture of ignorance and anti intellectualism has been prevalent for almost half a century. 8 year old kids are talking about doing drugs, popping caps, and banging ho’s

    Do you think places like Africa are full of people with ideas to improve carbon nanotubes who just need funding?

    If you have a good idea, you don’t need the government to fund it, private industry will.

    China has a abundance of researchers with a abundance of good ideas, their test scores in math and science are the highest and they train quality PHD’s

    Reply
  7. Interesting development from Chinese researchers.
    With each passing month their sci-tech developments are becoming more cutting edge and groundbraking.

    If USA government won’t increase their R&D spending on science (mainly basic science) at least by 50%, China will catch up in scale and quality of sci-tech research by 2020.
    China already catched up in scale and by news like this and other from just last week( artificial moon development, longest carbon nanotubes, cell sized graphene nanorobots and more)
    which Brian is digging from the web, we can see that they’re improving quality very fast.

    Reply

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