[Li Zhang] and his colleagues on the Chinese language College of Hong Kong (CUHK) have developed a blob of goo that may navigate complicated environment, develop an ‘arm’, grasp a wire and transfer it, encapsulate a small object and carry it. As explained in the research paper, the key is within the non-Newtonian materials the bots are product of.
You may make an analogous concoction at dwelling, normally referred to as “slime”, with corn starch and water. Deformed slowly, it should transfer like a fluid. Deformed quickly, it behaves like an elastic stable. CUHK’s model is polyvinyl alcohol, glass coated NdFeB microparticles (neodymium magnets), and borax.
This twin habits lets the robotic do wonderful issues. Positioned on a floor, they made the blob prolong pseudopods by dragging beneath with a magnet, then used a round subject to make it grasp and transport a wire. They used an analogous approach within the different axis to swallow an object. The CUHK group are selling this as a method to retrieve international objects within the physique (like an by chance swallowed button cell).
Nd magnets are made by sintering Nd2O3 or NdFeB in a powerful magnetic subject. Nd2O3 is accessible from SigmaAldrich at solely barely eye watering costs. Polyvinyl alcohol and borax are simply accessible. This looks like a hobbyist do-able challenge (Nd is poisonous, use precautions).
We’ve been protecting micro robots for a while. Again in 2014 we coated swarm micro robots. This project uses an external field to move a small Nd magnet, and all the way in which again in 2014 we covered early work in this field.