The light-powered caterpillar robot has been engineered by the research team from Poland. The design team from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw employed liquid crystal elastomer technology to develop the soft robot.
The design of the 15-milimeter-long caterpillar robot draws inspiration from the real-life caterpillar. The light-controlled tiny robot uses energy from the green light to mimic the undulating motion of the caterpillar. It can move across the flat surfaces or even climb moderate gradients.
The LCE technology allows light and heat to produce structural changes in smart materials. This caterpillar bot uses the technology developed at the LENS Institute, Florence for flexible movement. The light-sensitive elastomer stripe absorbs light energy from a spatially modulated laser beam, which then causes structural changes. The manually focused laser beam, with an average power of 2.5 W, even caused the robot to squeeze through a 0.9 mm slit.
Their research titled ‘Light-Driven Soft Robot Mimics Caterpillar Locomotion in Natural Scale’ has been published in the Advanced Optical Material Journal.
See the robot in action in this video: