The electrical grid behind the northern lights

The robot dances forward in response to the temperature

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A soft, flexible robot that does not need a battery or cable to move, that can reach difficult places, such as the depths of the human body, for example: this is what a large number of researchers are working on with varying degrees of success.

The new member of the soft robot family is one that doesn’t need much to move and when it does move, its motions are reminiscent of a breakdancing performance. The robot is made of a soft, glue-like gel that expands and contracts in response to changes in temperature.

The researchers were able to control the contraction and expansion in such a way that the robot moved in a motion much like a “worm”: a dance move that occurs in breakdancing, but which actually originated in the 1920s.

Producing the robot in large numbers shouldn’t cost much, and the applications, according to the researchers, are endless and not just biomedical. The next step: to see if the crawling motion could also be triggered by changes in naturally occurring substances in our bodies and if the worms could also be equipped with tiny sensors and cameras.

Read more: The new robot does the “worm” when the temperature changes.

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