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Swimming robot uses light for power and steering

Swimming robot uses light for power and steering

Monday 16 September 2019

Scientists have explained how a new swimming robot has been designed to run off nothing but a constant stream of light energy.

The device is called the OsciBot because the object moves by oscillating its tail when in water. Unlike previous projects in the past to produce light-powered objects, the OsciBot does not need to rely on light energy that’s been harvested and stored or batteries; instead, relying on a constant source of light to function.

The design is thought to be a step forward in the link between light power and sea exploration. Future plans for oceangoing robots and autonomous ships incorporate aspects of the design and link them to a possible breakthrough into exploring the depths of the ocean.

The design is inspired by a natural phenomenon that is found throughout the animal kingdom called phototaxis-movement. Some animals such as jellyfish and moths use light for movement.

Ximin He is a UCLA assistant professor of materials science and engineering, as well as the study's principal investigator. He stated,

"Typically, generating oscillation relies on intermittent energy input, such as pulsed light or alternating electric current. By contrast, this study shows a new way of generating oscillation, by using a constant energy input that is easily accessible from the ambient environment and inexpensive to harness."


  2. Techxplore.


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