Transparent hydrogel-based robots

Have you ever thought about a robot that is transparent? Yes, the engineers at MIT have manufactured translucent, gel-based robots. These robots function when water is pushed in and out of them. The robots are designed to perform a range of rapid, vigorous tasks such as clutching and liberating a live fish or dodging a ball beneath the water.

The robots are completely made of hydrogel, which is a strong, rubbery, almost transparent substance. It consists of water mostly. Each of the robots is assembled of hollow, specifically designed hydrogel configurations, linked to rubbery tubes. When the water is pumped into the hydrogel robots by the researchers, the structures rapidly inflate in angles that make it possible for the robots to either curl up or extend out.

The team designed various hydrogel robots such as a flexible appendage that can make kicking movements; a finlike construction that flaps to and fro; and a squashy, hand-shaped robot that can clutch and relax.

The robots have same acoustic and visual characteristics of water as the robots are made as well as powered completely by water. According to the research team, if these robots are manufactured for underwater applications, they will be practically invisible.

At present, the research team is making efforts to modify the hydrogel robots so as to use them in various medical applications.

Xuanhe Zhao said, “We are enthusiastically associating with medical teams to convert these robots into soft operators, for example, hydrogel ‘hands’ that can potentially exert tenderer handling of organs and tissues in surgical operations.”


Surely, these hydrogel robots can be the future of technology. Feel free to share your thoughts.

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