Software Robots Are Unprecedented Robots

In the last century, with the acceleration of industrialization, the division of labor and operation became more and more professional. The same work day after day made people feel boring. They began to look for Autonomous machines to replace themselves, so robots were born.

According to the definition, "robot is a machine device that automatically performs work. It can not only accept human command, but also run pre arranged programs, but also act by using the principles of artificial intelligence technology." since the birth of the first robot in 1959, people have become obsessed with robot design and fantasy, and some have inspired from the perspective of bionics, Some design from the perspective of mechanical engineering.

However, the research and development of robots is to assist or replace human beings in dangerous work. At present, most robots are still tough "tough guys". People are also expanding their imagination and creativity to develop robots as soft and cute as "big white". This kind of robot made of soft materials is called soft robot, which has attracted much attention in the research field.

Previously, Zhidong had conducted a series of combing reports in the field of vertical robots such as exoskeleton robots, biped robots and underwater robots, which is the fourth article in the series.

Is it "hard" or "soft"

Soft robot is a kind of flexible robot. Most of its models come from soft organisms in nature, such as robot snake, marine aquatic animal robot and so on. The most prominent feature is that the material selection of the machine body is mainly flexible material, rather than the traditional rigid connector and shell. The advantage of this material is that it can be made by the simplest method - 3D printing, which saves time and cost.

In the driving mode, the traditional mechanical robot needs power devices such as motor to drive. In the research and development of new driving methods, the current research institutions mainly have two directions: the first method is to imitate the motion principle of human or animal muscles, and the second is to use environmental changes to obtain power, such as temperature, air and light.

At the conceptual level, the soft robot targets the rigid robot, and it is more flexible in the scene by virtue of its soft advantage in the body. It can better adapt to various environments and will not cause great damage after being impacted by the outside world. It can complete complex tasks in a narrow space and unstructured environment, such as medical, military and detection fields.

It can be said that the research of software robot will help the robot expand to more scenes.

Robot "soft" competition

At present, most software robots are in the laboratory stage and need to be developed in practical application. Among them, the research results of software robots in the United States and Europe are remarkable, and there are many unforgettable software robot products.

Since 2011, researchers have been enjoying the research of software robots, and the research products launched have also been applauded. Caterpillar robots, worm robots, octopus robots and other bionic robots, and even micro hose robots. It can be said that there are only software robots you can't think of, not robots they can't study.

Tufts University in the United States studied software robots earlier. In 2007, they began a plan to design a "Caterpillar" robot with electronic original price and circuit. The original intention of caterpillar robot design is to make it possible to replace human beings to pass through dangerous areas, such as nuclear reactors, minefields or solar panels that replace human beings to repair spacecraft. In 2011, the robot was finally launched. Researchers named it goqbot because it can curl its body into a Q shape and roll at a speed of 0.5 meters per second.

In 2011, Harvard University, the deformable soft robot can crawl forward

The Harvard study was carried out under a research grant from the U.S. Department of defense. The progress was published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday. The human body of the software machine is about 12.7 cm long, and the manufacturing process took two months. Its limbs can be operated independently, and compressed air is input into its limbs for corresponding driving through manual or computer automatic control. This makes the new robot have incomparable flexibility and can crawl or slide freely on the ground. It seems very powerful. In fact, the principle is very simple: the gas supplied in the pipe is replaced with a mixture of methane and oxygen, and then ignited by a micro electric ignition device. The deflagration gas will be the explosive expansion of the soft tentacle in an instant, so as to complete the bouncing process. Because the material used to make the soft robot is soft and elastic enough, the explosion will not destroy its tentacles.

In 2014, the robot was upgraded to become the world's first cordless software robot, which can walk on snow, water and fire. Researchers hope that it can be used as a post disaster search and rescue tool one day. For example, the micro compressor, control system, battery and other equipment required for the operation of the robot are carried on its own back.

MIT mesh worm robot, which looks like an earthworm and has wireless function, makes "artificial muscle" from metal wires made of nickel and titanium. The robot is jointly researched and designed by MIT, Harvard University and Seoul University in Korea. By contracting the body segments and crawling on various surfaces, it looks more like an earthworm. This robot, which is almost entirely made of soft materials, has strong elasticity. Even if it is stepped on or hit hard with a hammer, it will not be hurt and will continue to move forward slowly.

In 2014, the United States invented a soft robotic fish, which is not only waterproof, but also can simulate fast swimming fish. It is made of silicone rubber and can change the moving direction instantly. It is the first independent automatic control software robot that can move the body quickly. The robotic fish provides power by releasing the carbon dioxide in the abdominal tank, which will bend the tail of the robotic fish through the wavy channel. The robotic fish can swim 30 times before the carbon dioxide tank is exhausted.

The market is not just needed, and commercialization is in danger

At present, most software robots are still in the laboratory stage, and it is difficult to implement the technology. At present, the commercialization of robots is mainly in the industrial field, and rigid robots with greater strength are generally used in this field. On the one hand, rigid robots have a long time of technology accumulation in the industrial field and mature technology, which can realize rapid deployment.

At the same time, there are more manufacturers of rigid robots, and the after-sales service system is relatively perfect. On the other hand, the software robot itself has innovations in materials and driving methods. Some robots use new materials. In order to achieve large-scale application, we must first make mass production of its materials, which need to be built by robot manufacturers themselves. Moreover, now most software robots are in the commercial field. If enterprises or the market want to introduce this technology, they will also face a series of problems such as patent licensing, which is not as simple as the original scheme.

So, where is the market for software robots? In terms of advantages, soft robot is more flexible and can pass through small gaps. Therefore, soft robots will play an important role in national defense, replacing humans to go deep into some dangerous areas such as nuclear reactors. Another market with great potential for software robots is the medical industry. Software robots can help human beings carry out precise surgery on blood vessels and nerve tissues by virtue of their small size and flexibility, so as to reduce the damage of the original rigid robots to human bodies.

In the process of marketization of software robots, the most prominent problem is non rigid needs. Today, when people experience more and more refinement, software robots play an important role in optimizing the industry pattern.

Conclusion: Industry and medical treatment are the future direction

Generally speaking, soft robot is a very promising research field, and its research began only after 2000 according to the observation of intelligent things. At present, this research is in full swing in academic circles. These scientists try to create a new robot whole different from traditional robots.

However, from academia to commerce, soft robots do have a place to play. On the one hand, robots made of rigid materials are sharper and harder. Once humans misuse or collide with machines, they will bring physical harm to humans, while soft robots will relatively give humans a buffer time, so as not to cause great harm to humans. This way of optimizing traditional robots is icing on the cake with software robots. With the unique small and imperceptible scene, software robot will have broad development space.

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