New 3D Printing Technique from UCLA Spits Out Whole Robots All at Once

A swarm of tiny robots could save your life one day — or at least that’s the idea with a new kind of tiny robot that can 3D print at the same time.

In a new study published year Science Today, a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles developed a new 3D printing method that can create working robots made from metamaterials (composites made from elements that are not present). in nature). The result are machines that scientists call ‘super bots’, capable of moving, sensing and navigating terrain on their own.

Each super bot is roughly the size of a fingernail. The team believes it has potential for a number of different applications including exploring hazardous environments such as collapsed buildings or other areas of rubble to aid in rescue efforts. They could even be made smaller to aid medical procedures by delivering drug doses to specific locations in the body.

“We envision that this intelligent robotic material design and printing method will help create a self-propelled material that can replace the current complex assembly process to create a robot,” said Xiaoyu ( Rayne) Zheng, a UCLA engineer and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

The special 3D printing technique relies on the use of piezoelectric metamaterials. The substance uses a lattice design that can bend and move in response to electricity. With the help of a small battery and a control sensor attached to it, the robot can move around on its own. The super bot can also emit ultrasonic waves, allowing it to react to its environment.

With its complex movements, multiple sensing modes, and tightly integrated programmable decision-making capabilities, it resembles a biological system with nerves, bones and tendons. work in tandem to perform controlled movements,” says Zheng.

To demonstrate their new 3D printing technology, the team created three super bots that can perform different tasks. A bot can move around corners and randomly placed obstacles. Others, can jump and walk on rough terrain. The last one is able to run away and escape any dangerous contact such as strong impact.

The new technique offers a new and potentially groundbreaking way to develop small robots with a wide variety of use cases. So if you ever have a future disaster emergency and a bunch of tiny robots start swarming you, don’t panic. also much. They may just be there to help.

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