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Untethered Actuation of Hybrid Hydrogel Gripper via Ultrasound

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journal contribution
posted on 20.11.2020, 13:35 by Hyegyo Son, Eunjeong Byun, Yeon Ju Yoon, JuHong Nam, Seung Hyun Song, ChangKyu Yoon
Stimuli-responsive hydrogels that exhibit reversible volume changes in response to stimulus cues such as heat, pH, and light have been utilized in soft robotics, microfluidics, electronics, and biomedical surgical tools. While the development of the soft robotics has widely expanded, most external triggering systems still have limited utilities due to the low selectivity. We present a hybrid gripper capable of undergoing preprogrammed shape transformation utilizing ultrasound energy on–off processes as the external triggering system, which can be utilized in invisible and nonselective environments. Furthermore, we describe the magnetic locomotion of the soft gripper enabled by the introduction of iron oxide (Fe2O3) ferrogel. By integrating these dual ultrasonic and magnetic control systems, we demonstrate the soft gripper could actively and safely perform pick-and-place tasks on a biological salmon roe in the aqueous maze environment. We expect that this study can provide the groundwork for the further important advances to the creation of ultrasound-responsive shape programmable and multifunctional smart soft robots.