hGraphene ydrogel as a basis for a “soft” robotics




hGraphene ydrogel as a basis for a “soft” robotics


Most people hear the word “robot”, just are metallic humanoid creature. In part, these robots is in fact, but now scientists are increasingly beginning to attract the so-called “soft robotics”, the inspiration for the creation of which they receive from creatures such as octopus, jellyfish , squid, caterpillars and so on, that is, those representatives of living fauna that can wade through the smaller compared with the very creatures of space.

And in this way can help a new form of special hydrogel that responds to near-infrared light, and developed by the University of California at Berkeley.

Designed by a team of researchers led by associate professor of bioengineering Son-Wook Lee material composed of synthetic and elastic proteins, as well as thin layers of graphene . Upon cooling, synthetic proteins absorb the water, when heated – it is released. At this time, the graphene layers accumulate heat that they receive from the near-infrared light.

The hydrogel was designed so that one of its sides turned more porous than the other. Therefore, when a material is directed infrared light, the graphene layers begin to heat the surrounding proteins, which in turn starts with one hand to release the fluid faster than the other. With this material begins to wind down. A very similar phenomenon can be seen in the growth medium, when the plants begin to reach for the light source – it is called phototropism.

“By combining these materials, we are able to repeat the process of plant cell response to light. Only in this case, the process is more controlled, “- says Lee.

“Since the gel material is not distributed quite evenly, the material begins to bend toward the light source. This effect has been demonstrated for a number of hydrogel formed in the shape of a hand. At the time of exposure to light fingers of the hydrogel hands start to bend. ”

In addition, this method may be of interest in the development of “soft robots” hydrogel, with light, one can be used in medical practice for creating artificial tissue and deliver needed drugs directly within the body.
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