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Computer Modeling Helps in Microrobotics Design


Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have used complex computational models to help design swimming microrobots. The engineers say their modeling shows what factors would be important in constructing a real system. The researchers modeled a robot that was 10 microns long, had two flaps, and was made from a gel that responds to chemical reactions or changes in temperature or in magnetic or electric fields, or temperature changes. These changes would enable the body of the swimming robot to expand and contract, which would also make the hydrogel-based flaps move and help propel it. The researchers said microswimming devices could travel a few micrometers per second and be useful for targeted drug delivery within the human body, to help with small-scale assembly tasks, and in microfluidic chips for lab-on-a-chip applications. They published their work in the journal Soft Matter. (Science Daily)(Georgia Institute of Technology)(Soft Matter)

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