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Home Industry News Vine-like growing robot developed for multiple applications

Vine-like growing robot developed for multiple applications

25th July 2017

Researchers have developed a new type of robotic technology that is able to travel across long distances by growing in a similar way to an organic vine.

Stanford University scientists have developed the soft device, which is inspired by natural organisms that cover distance by growing including vines, fungi and nerve cells, and has a number of potential applications.

It consists of a tube of soft material folded inside itself that grows in one direction when the material at the front of the tube everts, which takes place when pressurised air or fluid is pumped into the stationary end.

The robot is able to navigate its way into small spaces and complex anatomies without getting stuck, potentially making it useful for investigating small spaces and staging rescue operations.

By creating smaller versions, it could also be possible to conduct medical procedures, as it could grow through the body without dragging along delicate structures.

Allison Okamura, professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, said: "Essentially, we're trying to understand the fundamentals of this new approach to getting mobility or movement out of a mechanism. It's very, very different from the way that animals or people get around the world."

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