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Researchers Use 3D Printers to Develop Improved Robots • Mirror Daily

Specialists used 3D printers for their project

(Mirror Daily, United States) Robotics is one of the fields of technology which is rapidly advancing. 3D printers are used more and more by scientists in order to develop improved models. It is the case of MIT researchers as well, who created a soft material which assures resistance of high-tech devices.

The newly designed material was obtained with the help of 3D printers. Its purpose is to protect all kinds of devices from getting damaged. Drones and robots will be much more resistant than they used to be and crashes will no longer affect them.  Developers suggest that the new protective material can be used even for smartphones.

The soft material developed by the MIT researchers assures a safe landing for robots and other devices that feature it. According to researchers, robots now have four times more chances of landing properly, without getting damaged. What the material does is help devices rather softly bounce than instantly hit the ground.

MIT researchers have also written a study on their latest invention. It is called “Printable Programmable Viscoelastic Materials for Robots.” The principal authors are Robert MacCurdy, Shuguang Li, Daniela Rus, and Jeffrey Lipton.

Because they protect devices from being damaged, the main feature of viscoelastic materials is that they absorb the shock. Daniela Rus talks about the implications of this new achievement:

“That reduction makes all the difference for preventing a rotor from breaking off of a drone or a sensor from cracking when it hits the floor. These materials allow us to 3D print robots with visco-elastic properties that can be inputted by the user at print-time as part of the fabrication process.”

Another important feature of these materials is that they can take any shape. They can be cut or carved according to the form of the device on which they will be applied.

For the time being, the MIT researchers put into effect their product by developing a cube with robotic features. The geometrical shape was covered with the special material in order to show how the PVM works. The testing leads specialists to believe that the PVMs are efficient with a broad range of materials.

The MIT researchers state that they can enlarge the variety of domains which can benefit from the soft materials. For now, they think about electronics and sports. They will present their product at a meeting on intelligent robots, which will be held in South Korea.

What do you think about the new soft materials produced with the help of 3D printers?

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

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