The team relies on both captured woodlice (aka rollypollies) and captive chitons (small marine mollusks) to temporarily serve as a robot’s hands.
They first 3D printed tiny seats for the animals to sit on at the end of the robot’s manipulator arm, then set the woodlice and chitons to task, picking up tufts of cotton and submerged cork, respectively.
Those manipulators were a novel proof of concept in that they exploited the natural mechanisms spiders use for locomotion specifically that their limbs move through a combination of fluid pressure and flexor muscles, rather than the antagonistic pairs that mammals have though the system was really only good for as long as the corpses held together.Tohoku University via NewScientist
The new system designed by Dr.
The results were about as promising as one could really hope for the woodlice futzed around with the cotton for about two minutes before losing interest, while the chiton’s grabbed hold of their prizes and had to be actively separated from them.
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