There’s no question that robots have come a long way since their cold, clunky, cumbersome inception. Nowadays they’re smart, agile and responsive — but they’re still missing the tactile, multipurpose elements that make living creatures flexible and autonomous. Until now. In a bid to make robots more lifelike, scientists have created a soft robotic lionfish and have pumped it full of life-giving “blood.”
While typical robots carry bulky single-purpose parts to provide power, such as a battery or gears, the newly-developed lionfish has a unique circulatory system that provides both power and propulsion. The “blood” pumped around the system comprises an electrolyte solution that acts as both hydraulic fluid and energy storage. The result? A more lifelike looking creature that was able to swim for long durations of up to 36 hours — eight times longer than a robot of similar design but without the synthetic blood.
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