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Science & Technology

Scientists create life-like robotic fish that runs off of 'blood'

Thursday 20/June/2019 - 09:20 AM
File Photo
File Photo
Edited By: Yara Sameh
Robots can do all sorts of things that humans can: they can deliver packages، drive cars، make lattes، and now، rather disconcertingly، they can bleed، daily mail reported. 

In a paper published in Nature، researchers from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania explore the use of 'electrolytic vascular systems for energy-dense robots' which in this particular case means، a robotic fish that relies on a form of 'blood.'

As reported by Gizmodo، the specimen uses a type of human-engineered circulatory system to pump a synthetic 'blood' -- an electrolyte solution used as hydraulic fuel -- to provide its propulsion and power.

The result is a robot that not only looks more life-like but actually mimics biological designs to its own benefit. 

Researchers say the novel method of using a blood-like fuel helps solve one of the biggest problems with today's crop of robots، their power source، which is often bulky an inefficient.

'Energy-storage systems are among the most crucial limitations to robot autonomy،' writes the paper's author James Pikul in an introduction. 

'But their size، weight، material and design constraints can be re-examined in the context of multifunctional، bio-inspired applications.'

Antiquated though it may be، the biological systems found in creatures like fish are far more efficient than anything used in our most high-tech robots. For instance، notes Gizmodo، a fish's gils discharge waste، regulate gas exchange، maintain internal pressure and much more. 

By modeling robots after their biological predecessors، Pikul and his team hope to increase the longevity of robots in between charges.

'We realized that the operation time of most robots is very short before they have to recharge، on the order of tens of minutes، yet humans can operate for days without eating،' Pikul told Gizmodo.

'We wanted to solve this problem by finding ways to store energy in all the components of a robot. This robot blood is our first demonstration of storing energy in a fluid that is normally only used for actuation.'

According to researchers، the approach of using a solution for both power and propellant، which has never been done before، has shown immediate success in achieving longer life cycles. 

In its peak performance، the researchers' robotic fish was able to swim for 36 hours straight without intervention -- about eight times longer than a similar robotic without synthetic 'blood.' 

Additionally، the robot was able to maneuver more easily than its battery-powered kin، since it didn't have the burden of dense energy storage units. 

Pikul tells Gizmodo that the method could be used in the future to help increase the efficiency and longevity of both robots and other machines including those that use fuels like airplanes and cars.

HOW ARE RESEARCHERS USING 'BLOOD' TO POWER ROBOTS? 
Researchers are employing the use of a 'blood' like substance to power a robotic fish.

The solution is infused with electrolytes to power the bot and is also used to hydraulicly propel it through the water. 

This is the first time a substance like the one made by researchers has been used to power a robot and could help increase efficiency. 

Using the synthetic 'blood' researchers were able to increase the bots efficiency eight times over its more traditional kin.

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