If someone wants to build a robot which can perform back flips, they will be needing motors and batteries to do that. However, that is not the only thing that robots are designed to do. There are also very simple robots which are powered only by the moisture and lasers. Robotics has taken another leap and scientists have developed a robot which is powered by popcorns. The concept of using the unusual power source is given by a team from the Cornell University, led by Steven Ceron.
The idea is to make use of the popcorn’s ability to convert heat into mechanical force. Researchers have found that certain kinds of popcorn kernels can increase their original volume by 15 times when they pop. This allows them to function as a single use power source. Researchers demonstrated three different bots which were using the same power source i.e. popcorn.
The three bots which were demonstrated were able to grip a ball when heated by a wire, lift weight when placed in a microwave and close a mechanical claw when exposed to hot air. There are some downsides to using popcorn, especially that once the popcorn is popped, it cannot be unpopped. On the other hand, the upsides include the incredibly low price and the robot being biodegradable. This comes in handy for the robot designs that are intended to decompose after use.