Robobee, a flying robot developed by a research team at Harvard University in 2013, can jump into the water, swim underwater, and then fly back into the air. These robots have evolved again and have soft artificial muscles that will not break even if they collide with walls or fellow robots.
Instead of a propeller that rotates like a drone, robobees fly in the air or fly freely by flapping their transparent wings like a dragonfly. Flapping wings like this is an artificial muscle that adds softness to it and absorbs shock even if it collides.
Although there have been soft artificial muscles to this day, the new model released by Harvard University combines sufficient power density and control. In addition to flying, it has potential, such as performing aerobatics or carrying something. The secret is that the power density has been improved by using new materials. The artificial muscle actuator is a dielectric elastic body, so when voltage is applied, the electrodes applied to the surface of the soft material are pulled and deformed. Like existing hard actuators, it combines the softness and strength driven by 500Hz power.
This method is easy to assemble or replace, and it is easy to extend the wings and actuators, but it can do complex tasks. In the video, Robobi has an actuator and eight wings.
Of course, this technology is still not as efficient as existing robots. However, the research team is improving the technology and ultimately expects general sales. Robobi is contemplating a search mission at the site of a future disaster or accident, but the day may come when he plays an active part in rescuing victims from places covered with tiles or gravel where human entry is difficult from outside. Related information can be found here .