Friday, August 17, 2012

Coloring Soft Robots - "Fun" Supplemental Info?

Have you seen George Whitesides' new soft, color-changing, 3D-printable (huggable?) robots? They're out in Science right now, and Ed Yong's got a rockin' writeup over at his blog.

Source: Science | Discover | Harvard
The silicone based robots, mimics of squid, octopus, and other sea life, are pneumatically controlled - they 'move' when pumped around the lab. Colors are charged via pressurized microfluidic channels, and matched to the critter's surroundings using an algorithm. A few online videos (Harvard, and Science SI) show the robot 'dancing,' trying out its camouflage, and even glowing in the dark.

Reading through the supporting information, I had to chuckle at some of the phrasing that truly differentiates a 'Whitesides paper' from a normal chemist's jaunt. Here's some choice phrases:

"Ecoflex two-part platinum cure silicone rubber kits...purchased from Smooth-On, Inc."

"...we made aqueous solutions colored in the visible mixing and adjusting the relative proportions of gouache watercolor paints..."

"This chemistry is standard for commercially available glow sticks"

"Fluorescent solutions were created by dispensing approximately 2 mL of DayGlo paint...and diluting with 25 mL acetone"

Makes discussions of where you purchased your LAH and allyl bromide seem rather pedestrian, eh?

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