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Shape-programmable miniscule robots

Shape-programmable miniscule robots

Soft materials that can use magnetic fields to generate desired time-varying shapes could provide an engine for microswimmers

One day, microrobots may be able to swim through the human body like sperm or paramecia to carry out medical functions in specific locations. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have developed functional elastomers, which can be activated by magnetic fields to imitate the swimming gaits of natural flagella, cilia and jellyfish. Using a specially developed computer algorithm, the researchers can now automatically generate the optimal magnetic conditions for each gait for the first time. According to the Stuttgart-based scientists, other applications for this shape-programming technology include numerous other micro-scale engineering applications, in which chemical and physical processes are implemented on a miniscule scale.


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pi Metin Sitti
Metin Sitti
Director
pi Guo Zhan Lum
Guo Zhan Lum
Alumni