#科技头条#【MIT研发3D打印新技术:可直接制作机器人】

#科技头条#【MIT研发3D打印新技术:可直接制作机器人】麻省理工学院的研究人员称,已开发出可生产液压元件的3D打印技术,并用它来打印了一个六腿机器人。这种方式生产的机器人不再需要组装,只需要加上马达与电池即可活动,简化了生产的流程。这意味着未来即便是新手也能自己生产机器人。

The robots that can WALK out of a 3D printer: Machines with solid and liquid parts only need to plugged in before scuttling away

  • Researchers developed a 3D-printing method for hydraulic components 
  • Method prints rigid support, flexible components and fluid-filled channels
  • 3D-printed robots need no assembly, only a motor and battery to walk off
  • Robots are limited by the printer, so sacrifice mechanical strength, but this could be outweighed by the ease and speed of the automated process

Researchers in MIT have developed a 3D printing technique for producing hydraulic components.

The machines are now making machines of their own, and there's no assembly required.

Researchers in the US have developed 3D-printed robots containing solid and liquid parts which only need to be connected to a motor and power supply before they can scuttle off.

By laying down all the components as it goes, the 3D printer can produce the robot's rigid support, flexible components and fluid filled channels as it builds up the layers.

The six-legged 3D printed robot bears a resemblance to the AT-AT walkers from the Star Wars films (pictured)

The method makes it possible to print robots with hydraulic parts, simplifying the production process so even a novice can print their own robot.

So far, the team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has printed a range of components, as well as a fully-printed six-legged bug-bot which can scuttle away on its rubbery limbs, and a soft gripper for picking up objects.

 

Describing the one-step process in a new paper, accepted ahead of a robotics conference in Sweden next month, researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) claim their method is a step towards the future of robotic production.

'Our approach, which we call 'Printable Hydraulics,' is a step towards the rapid fabrication of functional machines,' explained Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL who oversaw the project.

By laying down all the components as it goes, the 3D printer can produce the robot’s rigid support, flexible components and fluid filled channels as it builds up the layers. Printhead nozzles deposit drops up to 30µm in diameter before solidifying them with UV light, skipping the liquid drops (illustrated)
'All you have to do is stick in a battery and motor, and you have a robot that can practically walk right out of the printer.'

Using an inkjet printhead with a number of nozzles to lay down the polymers and fluid, the method can generate bellows structures, which form the basis of hydraulic pumps.

Similar to an inkjet printer using different coloured inks, it uses different materials which either solidify on contact with UV light or one that doesn't.

In the printing process, nozzles deposit drops up to 30µm in diameter - less than half the width of a human hair - before solidifying them with UV light, skipping the liquid drops.

The team explains that there is no need to get rid of air bubbles from the hydraulic systems, as the pumps are manufactured in one go.

True to their word, the MIT researchers created a six-legged 'hexapod' robot with twelve hydraulic pumps, which was able to move after a motor and battery were installed. They also produced a flexible gripping machine arm.

'Inkjet printing lets us have eight different print-heads deposit different materials adjacent to one another, all at the same time,' said Robert MacCurdy, a researcher on the project.

'It gives us very fine control of material placement, which is what allows us to print complex, pre-filled fluidic channels.

 

'As far as I'm concerned, inkjet-printing is currently the best way to print multiple materials.'

However, the team clarifies the printed robots are affected by the limitations of the printer - namely the polymer used in the printing process, and so sacrifice mechanical strength.

But, for some, these disadvantages would be outweighed by the ease and speed of the automatic printing process.

For the moment, the process remains constrained by current printer technology, but experts believe that as 3D printing technology develops the manufacturing capabilities will improve.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3526439/The-robots-WALK-3D-printer-Machines-solid-liquid-parts-need-plugged-scuttling-away.html


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