Shape-Shifting Structures

  • Shape-Shifting Structures

An ultra-tunable bistable structure with programmable energy barriers and trigger pressures has been created by Chinese researchers. For usage in robotic applications, the structures can be tailored in a variety of geometric configurations, dimensions, materials, and actuation techniques. The energy barrier is lowered by altering the structure from the metastable state to any intermediate state, allowing for quick snap-through to be triggered by smaller external stimuli. With a variety of prototypes, including a robotic flytrap, grippers, a jumper, a swimmer, a thermal switch, and a sorting system, the researchers showed how adaptable the structure is. This research may result in improvements in kinetic art, biomedical engineering, robotics, and architecture. (Fractal abstract art depicting morphing structures.)

Ultra-tunable Bistable Structures Developed for Universal Robotic Applications

An ultra-tunable bistable structure with adaptable features has been created by Chinese researchers for robotic applications. It offers adjustable trigger forces and shows promise in a variety of sectors.

For its quick reaction and force amplification even in response to the smallest physical stimulation, bistable formations in nature are unmatched. Robot performance could be enhanced in a number of areas, including high-speed locomotion, adaptive sensing, and quick grasping, by taking advantage of bistability and instability to quickly release the stored energy in bistable structures.

However, much recent research on bistable systems concentrates on their stable states, leaving out intermediate states with a wide range of tunable energy barriers.

The Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has recently presented a sort of ultra-tunable bistable structure with programmable energy barriers and trigger forces of orders of magnitude differences. The research team is lead by Dr. LI Yingtian. For different robotic applications, the structures can also be modified with different geometrical configurations, dimensions, materials, and actuation techniques.

The described bistable structure was created by crease-pattern-specific folding of a sheet of material. It has massive intermediate states, a metastable state, and a stable state. There is a crucial point at which the stored strain energy reaches its maximum value and the quick snap-through begins as the bistable structure changes from its metastable state to its stable one.

Before the bistable structure reaches its critical point, huge intermediate states with programmable energy barriers were revealed in this work.

The energy barrier gets lower when the structure is changed from the metastable state to any intermediate state, which means that faster bistable structures can be formed with fewer amounts of external stimulation. The required external stimulation becomes increasingly delicate as the energy barrier continues to break down. For the proposed controlled bistable structure, the researchers were able to create a wide range of changeable trigger forces in this way.

Ultra-sensitive force detection and quick response capabilities are demonstrated. When modified to intermediate states with ultra-low energy barriers, the suggested structure can be activated by a droplet and flying bees. Thanks to LI Yingtian

The researchers conducted a series of experiments to show the tunability of the proposed structure, showing that the trigger force of a single structure could be tuned to 0.1% of its maximum value while the difference in lifted weight using grippers made by the proposed structures with different design parameters was 107 times greater.



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