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Robot Designed to Power Itself Robot Designed to Power Itself 

The autonomous design offers increased robotic independence by allowing them to create their own power

Scarlett Evans

September 16, 2022

1 Min Read

Researchers have created a robot that can sustain its own power, by autonomously drawing electrical circuits around itself using conductive ink.

The design combines a robotic gripper with a circuit printing system, with the robot capable of understanding and arranging its surroundings to ensure it receives the highest amount of energy possible.

The team is made up of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Imperial College London, and the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. The self-sustaining robot is set to be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics.

The team tested the robot in simulations of different real-world scenarios, including environments where the robot had to navigate objects and areas that would disrupt its drawn circuits. 

“Our results show that, with a small number of demonstrations, the robot learns to rearrange the placement of objects…and to connect a power source with a minimum amount of conductive ink,” the team said. “As autonomous robots become more present, in our houses and other planets, our proposed method brings a novel way for machines to keep themselves functional by rearranging their surroundings to create their own electric circuits.”

In this design, the team is also expanding robots’ potential adaptive capabilities, granting them an awareness of their surroundings and how to ensure their own operational efficiency. In the future, this could allow for the development of independent robots that can survive in complex environments without human supervision. 

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