Biomimetics is one of the recently discovered sciences that help us live in harmony with nature. It studies how to apply the biological principles to engineering. This process includes three key steps:
Understanding nature’s principles;
Applying them to engineering solutions;
Developing state-of-the-art tools and mechanisms.
Today, let’s take a look at one of the greatest biomimetics products – a single actuator wave-like robot that opens a new era in engineering.
One More Type of Robots with Actuators
This engineering idea implements the principles of wave-like motion of different species. For example, worms or snakes don’t have any legs or paws, but in many cases, they demonstrate a surprisingly high speed of motion. How do they do that?
First of all, it is all about the natural actuators – muscles. Second of all, their movement is wave-like. They create the waves with their motion to easily overcome large distances.
The motion of a single actuator wave robot is based on the same principle. The main inspiration was the movement of snakes. But unlike snakes, the robot makes vertical wave-like movements using a single motor to produce the motion.
The scientists all over the world have been trying to develop wave motion robots for more than 90 years. And the first one was created just 2 years ago, in 2016. The robot was developed in the Ben-Gurion University by David Zarrouk, the mechanical engineering enthusiast, professional lecturer and the participant of robotics initiative group.
5 Features of SAW Robot
Specialists achieved the robotic motion in two dimensions. The invention has numerous features, the most significant ones being:
Its speed is more than 0.5 m per second. In comparison with any other existing robot, it is five times higher.
According to the creator’s interview, the wave motion robot can be designed in various sizes. This feature extends its field of applications.
Thanks to its special intelligent design, the robots of this type are energy-efficient. This allows traveling long distances and enables participating in different kinds of missions.
Handling Low to Medium Loads
The robot is able to withstand low to medium mechanical loads. More detailed information depends on its model, purpose, and manufacturer.
What Can This Robot Do?
The robot can perform various actions:
This robot can climb through tunnels. It touches both sides simultaneously and develops the speed up to 8 cm per second.
Grass, sand, gravel – this robot can move on different surfaces with no extra efforts, hassles or damages.
Its ability to swim in different liquids extends its field of application. The creators took care of the waterproof version as well. However, its speed is considerably lower than the speed demonstrated by the original model. Waterproof robots with actuators can swim with the speed up to 6 cm per second.
This engineering product is quite easy to manufacture. Thorough testing demonstrated that any maintenance is unnecessary. The robot has fine security potential.
SAW Robot Applications
The most important thing about the robot like wave motion is the potential field of application. The inventor together with scientists all over the world believe this type of engineering solutions are quite promising.
As of now, there are two major fields of application:
Healthcare and Medicine
Due to its flexible design and ability to swim, crawl and climb, this robotics solution can open the new horizons for modern medicine. The miniature version can travel the human body, for example, intestine or blood. Thanks to it, such things as a biopsy can be taken in a matter of minutes.
Here, we have a new rescuer. The robot can find the victims of natural or anthropological disasters, wars or different attacks. It can travel through pipes, tunnels, destroyed buildings, etc.
It is hard to overestimate an invention like this. There are tons of ways and ideas of how to improve and upgrade the existing solution to make it serve humanity even better. Wave motion robots have the potential to save human lives and to be used in numerous industries.
Lessons taken from nature, together with a bit of logic applied, can positively impact the world around us. Engineering future is here, and it is vital to live it right.