Light Robots: Bridging the Gap between Microrobotics and Photomechanics in Soft Materials

Year: 2018

Authors: Zeng H., Wasylczyk P., Wiersma D.S., Priimagi A.

Autors Affiliation: Laboratory of Chemistry and Bioengineering, Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 541, Tampere, FI 33101, Finland; Photonic Nanostructure Facility, Institute of Experimental Physics, Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, ul. Pasteura 5, Warsaw, 02-093, Poland; European Laboratory for Non Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), University of Florence and INRIM, via Nello Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy

Abstract: For decades, roboticists have focused their efforts on rigid systems that enable programmable, automated action, and sophisticated control with maximal movement precision and speed. Meanwhile, material scientists have sought compounds and fabrication strategies to devise polymeric actuators that are small, soft, adaptive, and stimuli-responsive. Merging these two fields has given birth to a new class of devices—soft microrobots that, by combining concepts from microrobotics and stimuli-responsive materials research, provide several advantages in a miniature form: external, remotely controllable power supply, adaptive motion, and human-friendly interaction, with device design and action often inspired by biological systems. Herein, recent progress in soft microrobotics is highlighted based on light-responsive liquid-crystal elastomers and polymer networks, focusing on photomobile devices such as walkers, swimmers, and mechanical oscillators, which may ultimately lead to flying microrobots. Finally, self-regulated actuation is proposed as a new pathway toward fully autonomous, intelligent light robots of the future.


Volume: 30 (24)      Pages from: 1703554  to: 1703554

KeyWords: Actuators; Crystal oscillators; Functional polymers; Intelligent robots; Liquid crystals; Oscillistors, Fabrication strategies; Liquid crystal elastomers; Material scientists; Mechanical oscillators; Microrobots; Photomobile; Soft robot; Stimuli-responsive materials, Biological materials
DOI: 10.1002/adma.201703554

Citations: 163
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