Fastest insect in the world used for gas detection
Scientists at UC Berkeley University have created an insect-sized robot that is fast and mobile like real insects and bugs.
It owes its mobility to “feet” that use different voltages to change the strength of adhesion to the surface, which allows it to change the direction of movement suddenly and quickly.
The robot was first made in 2019 from a sheet of polyvinyldenfluoride (PVDF) coated with an elastic polymer to allow it to move using alternating current. The first model of the robot could travel at a speed of 20 body lengths per second, and even carry a small load, but its disadvantage was that it was not particularly manageable, so scientists added more advanced feet.
The newly added feet function according to the principle of electrostatic adhesion. When voltage is applied to one foot, it sticks to the ground, allowing the robot to turn in that direction.
Researchers have developed two versions of the robot, one that is connected to a power source and the other that runs on battery power. The coupled model was faster and reached a speed of 28 body lengths per second, while the battery-powered model was slower but could move longer and further. At the same time, the robot was carrying a gas detector, which could one day be used to monitor gas leaks inside small spaces.