Light-Driven, Caterpillar-Inspired Miniature Inching Robot
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Journal||Macromolecular Rapid Communications|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Liquid crystal elastomers are among the best candidates for artificial muscles, and the materials of choice when constructing microscale robotic systems. Recently, significant efforts are dedicated to designing stimuli-responsive actuators that can reproduce the shape-change of soft bodies of animals by means of proper external energy source. However, transferring material deformation efficiently into autonomous robotic locomotion remains a challenge. This paper reports on a miniature inching robot fabricated from a monolithic liquid crystal elastomer film, which upon visible-light excitation is capable of mimicking caterpillar locomotion on different substrates like a blazed grating and a paper surface. The motion is driven by spatially uniform visible light with relatively low intensity, rendering the robot "human-friendly," i.e., operational also on human skin. The design paves the way toward light-driven, soft, mobile microdevices capable of operating in various environments, including the close proximity of humans.