Carnegie Mellon researchers create self-healing robot alloyBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 29 May 2018 | Categories: news
If human beings are going to build robots and androids capable of helping them day to day, they need to be more robust than the current offerings, which are only able of taking a few hits before some sort of malfunction occurs. To that end, a group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have created a metal alloy that can repair itself by 'healing'.
Technically speaking it's being termed as an "autonomously electrically self-healing liquid metal-elastomer composite for robust soft matter robotics," but we guess self-healing alloy probably rolls off the tongue a bit better.
The liquid is gallium-indium in nature, according to Carmel Majidi and his research team, with it capable of stretching to fill any holes or surface damage multiple times. What makes this iteration of self-healing alloy so interesting, is the fact that it can react and begin repairing without any need to expose it to heat or humidity, which was the case with previous versions of this technology. It's able to circumvent any such requirements by forming new electrical pathways with the metal-elastomer.
Majidi notes that the inspiration for this alloy comes from the human body's natural ability to regenerate its nervous system. While this new elastomer is still in the early phases of development and testing, Majidi hopes to use it to help robots better handle structural or electrical damage to their bodies without the need for manual repair.
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