Scientists at Harvard University have developed a tiny shape-shifting robot that can melt its way out of a cage. The robot, which is made of a special type of material called a "thermally responsive hydrogel," can change its shape and size in response to changes in temperature.
The robot is made of hydrogel, which is a type of material that is composed mostly of water. When the temperature of the hydrogel is increased, it becomes more pliable and can be easily reshaped. Conversely, when the temperature is decreased, the hydrogel becomes stiffer and holds its shape.
The researchers at Harvard used this property of hydrogel to create a small, cube-shaped robot that can change its shape and size when exposed to heat. In a demonstration video, the researchers placed the robot in a small cage and then heated it up. As the temperature increased, the robot began to melt and change shape, eventually breaking through the bars of the cage.
This type of robot is not only unique because of its shape-shifting capabilities, but also because of the potential applications it could have in the future. For example, the robot could be used in search and rescue operations, where it could melt its way through rubble to reach trapped victims. Additionally, it could also be used in medical procedures, where it could melt its way through blockages in the body, such as blood clots.
The researchers at Harvard are continuing to work on this technology, with the goal of making the robot even smaller and more versatile. They are also exploring different types of hydrogel that could be used to create robots with different properties and capabilities.
This shape-shifting robot is a fascinating and exciting development in the field of robotics. The ability to change shape and size in response to changes in temperature opens up a whole new range of possibilities for the future of robotics and the many fields it could potentially impact.