5 May 2014

Titanium and nickel for Chinese fleas

Folk craftsmen have long provoked involuntary admiration of ordinary people, and if in olden times art was mostly famous for Russia, now China took the baton. And, while earlier the craftsmen used only improvised means, the Chinese inventors approached the problem not only creatively, but also armed with the arsenal of all the latest technologies. A group of scientists from the national university in Seoul recreated an artificial flea of ​​a mechanical type. A miniature robot, which is much larger than its natural counterpart, can easily mimic the specific movements peculiar to the jumps of a real representative of a flea family. In general, fleas are able to overcome significant distances, which are at least a hundred times longer than the small body of a single individual. The mechanical robot of Chinese production showed the same leap during testing. The ability to jump from a natural analogue of a mechanized device is associated with the presence on the hind legs of a unique spring consisting of an elastic protein. In a compressed state, such springs are held by one of the flea muscle groups. To restore such a complex mechanism in his robot Chinese scientists helped the alloy based on titanium and nickel. Such raw material, thanks to the shape memory, is able to restore its original state after switching the control lever, causing the mechanical flea in jumping to overcome large enough spaces. In fact, the switching between the state of rest and the activity of a unique robot occurs due to the impact of thermal energy and electricity. If the dimensions of the robot hardly approach two centimeters, then the jump of the product upwards reaches almost sixty centimeters. Now the project is in the testing phase, and Chinese scientists are trying to maximize their invention. The paramount task is to adjust the preservation of the vertical in relation to the flea's body, both at rest and at bouncing. Another problem is the source of autonomous power. If it is possible to install the nutrient element inside a small internal space of the mechanism, the device will be able to get rid of the need for an inconvenient wired connection to the network.

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