The first $5 water-based engine opens new science horizons as scientists think this technology may be used to improve all existing robotic prototypes. The model that has been recently created works on the process of evaporation and will contribute, for that matter to the preservation of water resources.
Researchers at the Columbia University have just announced a new groundbreaking discovery. They have managed to create the first water-based engine, whose price was estimated at only $5.
Based on the explanatory video they have provided, the prototype uses water evaporation to set itself in motion. Researchers have provided the robot with small artificial muscles, which have been biologically reproduced to respond to humidity and water drops.
The moment the muscles sense water or humidity in the room, they begin to alter their size. They begin to stretch themselves putting pressure on the engine components. Thus, the engine is set in motion and its components carry out their specific individual tasks.
Once the experts have created the water-based prototype, they were curious to see whether they can use the same technology in the development of other similar prototypes. For that matter, scientists at the Columbia University created a muscle engine and tested it on various occasions.
The engine based on biologically-reproduced muscles was divided into two halves. One part was covered with water, whereas the other one was left dry. Tests have shown that the moist part influences the dry half, as well, and the engine is immediately set in motion.
The engine continues to work until the water is completely dried from its surroundings. The same mechanism, however, turns out extremely useful when trying to set a small car in motion.
According to research professors at the said university, the next logical step that they set out to make was to test whether the engine can carry a small vehicle or not. As a consequence, they have connected a small plastic platform with wheels to the round engine and set out to conduct various experiments.
Water was placed on one of the two halves of the engine and the engine started. Much to the experts’ content and surprise, the small wheels of the platform began moving around the moment the muscles changed their shape.
Nevertheless, it is worth specifying that the vehicle was incredibly small as the water-based engine can only carry light objects, for the moment. Based on their calculations, the car was only 0.1 kilograms.
In spite of the small devices that researchers have created, the experiment carries a significant importance in the science community. The team of experts, who have taken part in tests were incredibly optimistic in the future of the new water-based prototype.
They have concluded their science report by stating that the model can, later on, inspire many more scientists in setting the grounds for new experiments. The water-based engine may later on, be used to create new robots, cars, prosthetics and sport gear that sense water changes.
Scientists have concluded that evaporation processes should be encouraged in the future as they can help save energy and water resources. In the same line, researchers have also created the first water-based computer.
Image Source: Phys.org