Researchers at Cornell University have developed soft fluidic actuators that can move, grip and sweat to keep cool. A robotic hand made from these flesh-like materials is capable of cooling itself three times faster than humans and horses. Current soft robotics destabilize as the temperature rises, but these new robots are programmed to perspire so they can operate in extreme heat. Read more for two videos and additional information.
What makes this possible are the hydrogel-based actuators, which double as heat reservoirs. These actuators were manufactured using multimaterial stereolithography, an innovative 3D printing technique previously used by a team at the University of Michigan. When the temperature rises above 86° F, the pore layers start to expand and release moisture.
At this point, we’ve made a sweating, multifunctional hydraulic actuator that’s self-cooled, and we believe that is a base building block of a general-purpose, adaptive, enduring robot,” said Robert Shepherd, associate professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University.