A group of researchers from Ritsumeikan University in Japan have developed miniature robotic fingers with the aim of interacting with insects through touch. The idea is to “touch” them without hurting them and at the same time to collect data on some of their behaviors. The researchers say systems like micro-robots can be used to measure the force they exert in actions like fighting or walking, but say these are not direct interactions.🇧🇷 The team aims to develop very smooth fingers, for human interaction on a previously unattainable scale.
And when we talk about an inaccessible scale, we even say that the microscopic world is possible to observe, through microscope instruments, but very difficult to interact with when necessary. You microrobots and microsensors have been a step taken to measure insects and their behavior. The new technology targets different reactions, the result of direct interactions with insects🇧🇷
As mentioned in the study, published in Scientific reportsthe little fingers are made of flexible liquid metal, with voltage sensors. To simulate a muscle, the hand uses a soft pneumatic ball, allowing the fingers to be controlled. On the human side, there is a rubber glove that allows you to make contact with your “micro-hand”, allowing safe interaction with insects or microscopic objects.
In the first tests, the robotic hand was tested to assess the reaction force of the insect known as the woodlouse, namely its legs, pushing it. And the calculation of the force was 10 mN, values previously estimated by the sensors used. One of the researchers, Professor Konishi, says that robotic fingers make it possible to directly measure the strength of the legs and torso, independent of the insect, which was not possible until now🇧🇷
The researchers also say the technology can be used in augmented reality applications to interact with the environment on a microscopic scale.