Stanford researchers develop vine-like, growing robot

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Stanford University.

We were trying to come upwith a new way for robots to explore theirenvironment, moving away from robots that walk orlocomote to robots that can grow like plants or cells.

The basic mechanism of thedevice is called eversion.

So it basically turnsinside out as the material emits from the tip.

By doing so, we allowmore material to be fed through the center.

And that allows us togrow to very long lengths and can follow veryconvoluted paths through very difficult-to-reach places.

We implement it herewith pneumatic pressure– so just air pressureto make it extend.

And you could also doit with hydraulics, so using a pressurized fluid.

It can have a power supplythat doesn't need to move.

It can just stay stationary,unlike a locomoting robot.

That gives us a lot moreflexibility in terms of weight as we move throughour environments.

This version of the robothad a turning mechanism that worked by [? maintaining ?]a particular side.

We have a camerathat's kept up the tip, and it's used to sensethe environment just like the human eye does.

And based on that,a goal destination can be designated by auser to grow the robot to.

The body can be stuckto the environment or jammed between rocks,and then the new material just comes out the end.

One instance, we made alittle obstacle course.

We also had a demonstrationof lifting a large crate.

We could grow under itand use the air pressure to lift the crateoff the ground.

As you're growing the device,you can pull cables along.

So this is an applicationfor wiring ceilings or the walls orfloors of a house.

You can think aboutscaling it up for, say, search and rescue applications.

We can make it takethe shape of an antenna so you can enablecommunications.

We can make it sneakthrough very small crevices in order to get access toplaces where people can't go.

And also, we candeliver material through the center of it– whether it be a sensoror water, for example– to reach a disaster victim.

Our device is currentlymade out of cheap plastic.

It was available andeasy to prototype with.

We're looking nowat making it out of more robust, airtightwaterproof fabrics.

The main point of thisfirst paper on the idea is just showingproof of concept.

It's a whole newform of mobility.

I think the biggestchallenge is so much the scope of what it can be.

For more, please visitus at stanford.