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Phase-Changing Material Created For Robots

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the bend-it-shape-it dept.

Robotics 35

rtoz writes In the movie Terminator 2, the shape-shifting T-1000 robot morphs into a liquid state to squeeze through tight spaces or to repair itself when harmed. Now a phase-changing material built from wax and foam, and capable of switching between hard and soft states, could allow even low-cost robots to perform the same feat. The material developed by MIT researchers could be used to build deformable surgical robots. The robots could move through the body to reach a particular point without damaging any of the organs or vessels along the way. The Robots built from this material could also be used in search-and-rescue operations to squeeze through rubble looking for survivors.

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Not even remotely the same idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47450223)

But hey, T-1000 and 3D printing and private space mining colonies!!!!

Sure, whatever.

Robots? Hell with that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47454293)

Introducing my new company:

DIAL-A-DILDO

Yes, that's right. Starting today, you can crank the crank up, or down, as most pleasing to you. Tight and sassy? No problem! Size queen? Turn it up to 11. Order now: dial 1 (800) ITS-HUGE anytime, night or day.

Offer not valid in Texas. Vibrating features extra. Made in USA by union labor. All natural. Au natural. 100% recyclable (in, out.)

LOL ... (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47450263)

and capable of switching between hard and soft states

Or, as penis implants for old men. ;-)

Re:LOL ... (5, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#47450289)

Of the suggestion uses, this one stands out the most.

Re:LOL ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47450307)

Of the suggestion uses, this one stands out the most.

I see what you did there. ;-)

Re:LOL ... (1)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about 3 months ago | (#47451501)

lol, maybe you just have a dirty mind, I didn't "get it" til I saw your post.

Re:LOL ... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47454119)

And possibly the LBGT community?

You know... (4, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#47450265)

Just because it was cool in the movie doesn't mean we have to build one.

Re:You know... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 months ago | (#47453841)

well.

"the same feat.".

makes me think that they didn't see the movie.

Re:You know... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47454251)

This looks easyer than a Warp Drive?

um... (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47450271)

um... ok, so its silicone rubber coated in wax. Heat the wax and the silicone can flex because the wax is fluid. Let it cool and the wax hardens. That doesn't sound even remotely durable to me. How is this useful?

Re:um... (2)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 3 months ago | (#47450333)

um... ok, so its silicone rubber coated in wax. Heat the wax and the silicone can flex because the wax is fluid. Let it cool and the wax hardens. That doesn't sound even remotely durable to me. How is this useful?

Didn't you watch the video?! It's just like the Terminator! Also, kittens, because they're cute and soft.

I don't know why everybody has to be so skeptical nowadays.

Re:um... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47450361)

I don't know why everybody has to be so skeptical nowadays.

Years of practice, now it no longer takes effort.

Oh, and a world which constantly reinforces that outlook as being a good choice. ;-)

Re:um... (2)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 3 months ago | (#47450437)

It's just like the Terminator

It's a liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the Terminator.

Re:um... (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 3 months ago | (#47450431)

It's a PhD for a student. That's the use.

Re:um... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47450931)

I think you meant publication and grant-whoring for a professor.

"... developed by [Professor] Anette Hosoi... and her former graduate student Nadia Cheng, alongside researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and Stony Brook University... working with robotics company Boston Dynamics..."

oh, shit, Anette is a female name. of course i didn't mean grant-whoring, i meant... uh... grant-solicitation? oh, no, wait, that isn't any better. hmm.

Re:um... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47450443)

How is this useful?

Teledildonics?

I once was excited... (1)

ZeroPly (881915) | about 3 months ago | (#47450725)

... about technology developments.

But now I realize that 95% of new technology will only help build robotic exoskeletons for the Koch brothers, not help us working schlubs.

Re:um... (4, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 3 months ago | (#47450757)

One thing I can think of is running wires through tight spaces. Put a small, snake-like "robot" made of this stuff with a camera on one end on a wire and use it to guide the wire through a small hole in the wall or ceiling. Make it deformable to go around corners, and rigid to go up walls. If it's cheap enough, there's plenty of electricians and cable installers who would probably buy one.

Re:um... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47452813)

One thing I can think of is running wires through tight spaces. Put a small, snake-like "robot" made of this stuff with a camera on one end on a wire and use it to guide the wire through a small hole in the wall or ceiling. Make it deformable to go around corners, and rigid to go up walls. If it's cheap enough, there's plenty of electricians and cable installers who would probably buy one.

Dude, it's paraffin wax. It's "rigid" state is about as strong as... well... wax...

What your describing has already been solved by this device:
http://www.delcity.net/store/C... [delcity.net]

They work fantastically well. I have 2! :-)

Re:um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455783)

We just use compressed air and a wad of tissue to blow a string through the pipes, around corners, up walls, etc. Then we tie it on and pull in the wire... Or, pull in a bigger rope, then pull in the bigger wire. Why, sometimes I even pull wire with my truck.

Tell you what though, you make me a little robot that costs about the same as a mexican helper for a day who will crawl through ceilings all day, and I'll stick it right up your ass becuase the hombre doesn't need servicing like your shitty little bot will.

You forget. Electricians know how shitty electrical devices are. For the same reason computer security experts don't like cars with ECUs or an ethernet CAN.

Re:um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47451169)

They are not trying to make it durable, they are trying to make it deformable. You do realize that they are not trying to build a T-1000 out of it.

Re:um... (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 3 months ago | (#47453043)

Of course it's useful, let me introduce you to my "Phase changing candle!"

In it's liquid/gas state, it burns. When it cools, it becomes a nonvolatile decoration.

Deploy or die (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47450315)

If I had a dime for every one these "researchers made the next big thing" articles I'd use it to fund a web start-up that tracks all these claims so I could watch the PR buzz fizzle into obscurity time after time. The tally so far: solar panels should be 1456% efficient, LEDs 124% efficient, batteries should outperform gas in every metric, the world should be filled nano-tube everything, and robots should be flying all around me at this instant.

What the headline should say is "University trolls for more funding..."

Re:Deploy or die (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47450345)

And we'd have our fucking hoverboards.

Re:Deploy or die (1)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about 3 months ago | (#47451529)

I'd be happy if they just hover. If they can fuck, going from hard to pliable would not only be a good thing, it would be an incredibly necessary thing.

Re:Deploy or die (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47450511)

News at 10: research is all about discovering/designing the next big thing. It sure would be nice if everything we tried panned out, but surprise surprise, when you're pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and innovation, not everything does.

So sit back and write your cushy web-apps, secure in your 20-year old stale tech, while those of us who are willing to risk something and look for something new actually do something for real progress.

"Skeptics of 'the next-big-thing' on slashdot is getting to be an old shit-trope that doesn't belong here. First of all, it's cool tech. Second, it's cool science. And yes, you get some icing on that cake--there is potential there. Is it a sure thing? No, and nobody with half a brain is claiming or expects it to be. If you only want sure things, read a history book.

Excuse #3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47450509)

If you're developing something that can't be used to catch terrorists or pedophiles, you can probably say it will be used to "search through rubble for survivors"

"An' when they git ready..." (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 3 months ago | (#47450711)

'... I say, when they git ready...... ever hear tell of a shoggoth?"

Terminator 2? Feh.

Re: I gave a talk on this at DEFCON (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47450743)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_WiShe0NOE
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=wax+motor

Paraffin wax is a known phase change material used in everything from washing machines, battery thermal management, automobiles, and thermostats. A project which has had moderate success with phase change materials is the Slocum Thermal glider which uses a PCM to harness thermal energy from the ocean.

OpenGlider V0.1 used 4 silicone bladders full of paraffin wax for both attitude control and a high pressure buoyancy engine. Unfortunately there were some fundamental design problems with the energy storage system that forced the transition to a more traditional approach. IE: using electric motors in V0.2 & V0.3(currently in development).

I think paraffin wax still has potential, but it's high specific heat translates to a large energy cost per cm^3 of volume change per dive cycle. My physics teacher discouraged my from pursuing PCMs because of the enthalpy losses, but without quantifying the losses it is difficult to do a cost benefit analysis on the design tradeoffs.

The goal of the project is the design of a low cost underwater glider to increase access to oceanographic data collection.
www.openglider.com

Internet Generation (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47451027)

Yeah, I'm watching the video and so far I'm really not impr - MOUSE!

Just a toy (1)

sdack (601542) | about 3 months ago | (#47451527)

Penis implants, medical devices, search & rescue robots, etc. are all high and noble visions. It seems, however, to be a rather flimsy and unstable material, which will have its future in the making of toys, where it will it end up being a mass product pnly to find its way into a trash bin eventually. Thus will it will not give many old men back their sexuality, nor will it save countless lifes, and the research will have to settle for a less noble vision ... the one which is going to put smiles onto the faces of countless of kids.

Penny Arcade Tie-In! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 months ago | (#47452207)

Call it Transformium! [penny-arcade.com]

Or search and destroy missions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47453127)

obviously Israel wants this technology yesterday.

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