It’s alarming enough when robots ingest plant detritus like twigs and grass clippings. It’s another thing entirely when they can start chowing down on members of the animal kingdom. A pair of prototype robots are designed to catch bugs, a major step on the path toward robots that can hunt, catch and digest their own meals.

The tiny robots are modeled after the lobes of Venus flytraps, which snap shut as soon as sensitive hairs inside detect an alighting insect. One prototype, developed at Seoul National University, is made of shape-memory materials that switch between two states when subjected to a current. The other, made at the University of Maine, uses artificial muscles made of a gold nanomaterial.

Continue reading

Advertisements