Cornell University researchers have built a robotic fish that works thanks to the circulatory system that runs on "blood". Of course, this robot does not contain real blood, but instead, a liquid battery moves through its circulatory system, similar to animal blood.
For today's advanced robots, they are still lacking "Multi-function connection systems found on living organisms", the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Nature, thus unable to reproduce the effectiveness and autonomy of animals. Therefore, the team looked at all the ways robots can store energy and consider factors that affect efficiency and self-sufficiency: size, weight and design.
The team, led by Robert Shepherd, an associate professor and robot researcher at Cornell Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Technology, used liquid batteries instead of hydraulic fluids to move robots. This liquid battery will power a pump to make the fins move, allowing the fish robot to swim. Scientists designed the robot with a soft body and only 45cm long.
The robot also has a hydraulic transmission and alternative energy storage method, allowing it to swim up to 36 hours continuously without having to recharge. The liquid inside the robot takes up less space (and lighter) than traditional batteries, allowing more energy to be used when moving.
"Blood in our bodies performs many functions, provides energy and removes waste, and is pumped by the heart and energizes our hearts," Shepherd said. This is the team's idea to put the way blood works into robots.
Shepherd and his team used a fluid power hydraulic system to apply pressure to the drive and power the pump to move the liquid. "We can do that by using liquid battery cells," he said, "Although it is very rudimentary, we have created a system similar to the animal's circulatory system."
A robot fish can work with "blood" sounds great, but of course, such a robot must be useful for practical use. Longer between charges, can lead to faster advances in scientific discoveries, from deep-sea exploration and space to global warming research.