Students under the guidance of IA Palani, head of Mechatronic and instrumentation laboratory (Asst. Prof. of Mechanical Engineering IIT Indore) have developed polymer-based soft robotic jellyfish for noiseless marine life monitoring. According to Palani, soft robotics is an emerging domain in the field of robotics, which has challenged traditional engineering approaches. According to him, Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) can be a suitable option for flexible actuators technology to imitate the gesture of living species. Its a smart material which can recover any induced deformation and return back to its memorized shape on heating up.
Just s a jellyfish glides through the deep waters of the ocean wading through other aquatic life and floating off. This silent robot is the make of brilliant minds at IIT and is a replica of such beings.
This device will not only keep an eye on the aquatic conditions but will also provide vital information of the vivid aquatic flora and fauna.
Soft robotics today is working on principals which defy the logic of stereotype traditional ideologies of engineering.
The laboratory has tested the robot which has achieved a motion of 1 cm/s. The SMA spring based mechanism mimics the flutter of the caudal fin of the fishes which propels them forward.
A simple flexible design which consumes less fabrication time and with noiseless actuation are its primary benefits. Continuous heating and cooling of the SMA polymer is responsible for the contractions and expansions of the robots body.
Its the combinations of various hard and soft complex materials which makes the robot move like an actual aquatic organism in the water.
These robots may have various applications . They can be either used to monitor the aquatic life, coral reefs or even the behavior of few species which are rather scared or conscious of cameras and other human made stuff.
The continuous changes made by heating the SMA which causes contractions and expansions help the robot to mimic like an actual aquatic creature and can slide and glide through crevasse just like a living organism would do.
Researchers are working to further develop this technology of SMA actuated autonomous bio inspired robotic fishes to more deeply understand the aquatic life and also help in flood situations and further study the oceanography.
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