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Light-Driven, Caterpillar-Inspired Miniature Inching Robot

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1700224
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Abstract

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.

Keywords

  • Journal Article

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland