A team of engineers from China revealed, in an article published in the journal Nature on Wednesday (3), that they created a robot capable of “surviving” the extreme pressure conditions found in abyssal regions, previously only reached by highly resistant submersibles.
According to the researchers, the device can even reach the deepest point in the ocean, the Mariana Trench, and change the way we monitor and clean such territories.
Equipped with a lithium battery, the novelty is only 22 centimeters long and resembles a tiny manta ray, although its design is based on the appearance of the snail fish, which hides almost 8 thousand meters below the surface.
In addition, its composition makes it safer than its conventional rigid equivalents in interactions with humans, and the flexibility it presents optimizes the manipulation of objects and the ability to squeeze into tight spaces or to travel through irregular places.
To find a way to protect electronic components, the authors separated them, instead of grouping them, and embedded them in silicone to incorporate them into the body, something more practical and cheaper than other methods. The approach worked, as laboratory tests and simulations demonstrated that this arrangement reduces stress on interfaces.
In short, the project developed foresees a structure similar to that of a fish and two oscillating side fins, attached to the “muscles” – made of a soft material that converts electrical energy into mechanical work. The movements are guaranteed by “a well-established mechanism.” Finally, solid structures connect the parts.