Slimbe Robotics Benefits From External Magnets
The Chinese University of Hong Kong has developed a magnetic slime that can be manipulated like a robot. Made of a blend of polyvinyl alcohol (a polymer), borax, and neodymium magnet particles, it’s a non-Newtonian fluid that can be controlled using external magnets.
It can stretch up to seven times its original length, grow an arm, grasp a wire, and encapsulate small objects. These magnetic miniature soft-bodied robots could have many applications, including micromanipulation and target drug delivery.
1. It’s Flexible
Developed by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, slimbe robotics can navigate complex surroundings, grow an “arm,” grasp a wire and encapsulate a small object. And they’re self-healing.
They’re made from a non-Newtonian fluid that can be deformed like a liquid or solid depending on force, and are controlled using external magnets. The mixture is a blend of polyvinyl alcohol (a polymer), borax, and glass coated NdFeB microparticles (neodymium magnet particles).
These tiny bits of magnet attract each other, which propels the slime robot along in an extremely precise way. This enables the slime to shift into different shapes and grab objects, a feat that’s difficult to achieve with other robotics. And it’s safe enough to be used in health care settings, allowing doctors to squeeze it into spaces that were previously too narrow or too dangerous for surgery. They’re also conductive, which makes them an ideal tool for electrical repairs. It can connect power lines, repair circuits between cut wires and even re-energize batteries.
2. It’s Safe
Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) have created a slime robot that can do pretty much anything. It can navigate complex environments, grow an ‘arm’, grasp a wire and even encapsulate a small object.
The secret to the blob’s capabilities lies in the non-Newtonian fluid that it is made of. It combines polyvinyl alcohol, glass coated NdFeB microparticles and borax, which enables it to behave like a liquid or solid depending on force and direction.
It also has the ability to self-heal, conduct electricity and grab smaller objects like a tentacle. And while the technology is not yet available to consumers, it can already be used by search and rescue teams in disaster zones that are hard to reach. But, a few more kinks need to be ironed out before it can make an impact on medical procedures. Adding a silica coating for safe insertion into the body is one way to address this, but it may not be enough.
3. It’s Flexible
Developed by scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), slimbe robotics are more flexible than you think. Made from a blend of polyvinyl alcohol (a polymer), borax and neodymium magnet particles, the non-Newtonian fluid can be manipulated to travel, rotate, or form O and C shapes when external magnets are applied.
This combination of elasticity and flexibility makes it possible for these slimy bots to maneuver in hard-to-reach places, such as small cavities or inside the human body. It also makes them ideal for grabbing items that are stuck in place, like buttons or medical devices.
CUHK researcher Li Zhang said that this technology can be used to help doctors recover swallowed objects and to squeeze robots into places where they were previously impractical. But he added that the magnetic materials used are still toxic, and researchers need to work on ways to prevent them from seeping out. They also want to make the material safe for use inside living beings.
4. It’s Flexible
A new invention developed by a team of scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong has the ability to navigate complex environments, grow an arm, grasp a wire and encapsulate a small object. The slime is made of a blend of polyvinyl alcohol (a polymer), borax and neodymium magnet particles, resulting in a non-Newtonian fluid that behaves like a liquid or solid depending on force and can be controlled using external magnets.
This non-Newtonian fluid is also conductive, meaning it can repair electric current between cut wires. In theory, this enables slime robots to be used as repair personnel for power lines or other electrical systems that are too tight for humans to access. It can also be useful for medical applications in hard-to-reach places such as the stomach, according to Li Zhang, one of the researchers behind this innovative technology. The result is a soft, self-healing, magnetic robot that has the potential to make a big splash in health care.