Scientific Results

Self-Regulating Capabilities in Photonic Robotics

Year: 2019

Authors: Martella D., Nocentini S., Parmeggiani C., Wiersma D.S.

Autors Affiliation: European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, via Nello Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy; National Institute of Optics, National Research Council, via Nello Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy; Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, via della Lastruccia 3-13, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy; Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Florence, via Sansone 1, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy; Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica INRiM, Strada delle Cacce 91, Turin, 10135, Italy

Abstract: Traditional robots are machines programmed to accomplish tasks, thanks to a complex ensemble of sensors connected to a computer “brain” which elaborate signals to drive specific actions. This complex network suffers from limitations—the need for a central computer, for instance, poses a limit to device miniaturization and requires a large amount of energy. A promising development, made possible by recent advances in material science, endeavors a new generation of soft robots that are multifunctional, compliant, and autonomous in ways that are similar to biological organisms. In particular, photoresponsive polymers are demonstrated to be valid candidates to substitute the computer-based intelligence with an “intrinsic” material cleverness. First demonstrations of self-sustained motions as oscillations or autonomous walking are described. In these cases, light also provides a solution to a second, very important, issue in microrobotics, which is the availability of a source of energy. Light actuation together with smart polymers can be combined into self-controlled robots capable of simple decision-making processes, for example with robotic grippers that are able to distinguish particles with different colors. In addition, the most recent examples about the integration of a form of robotic “intelligence” into a single material with a minimal level of consciousness are reported.

Journal/Review: ADVANCED MATERIALS TECHNOLOGIES

Volume: 4 (2)      Pages from: 1800571  to: 1800571

More Information: The research leading to these results has received funding from Horizon 2020EU-H2020 654148, Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze (grant 2015/0781), and Fondazione Telethon (grant GGP16191). This research project has been also supported by FAS-Salute ToRSADE project. This article is part of the special series on Advanced Intelligent Systems that showcases the outstanding achievements of leading international researchers on intelligent systems.
KeyWords: Biological materials; Complex networks; Decision making; Polymers; Robotics, Autonomous decision; Biological organisms; Decision making process; Level of consciousness; Photo-responsive polymer; Responsive polymer; self-sustained motions; Soft robotics, Intelligent robots
DOI: 10.1002/admt.201800571

English