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High-Speed, Heavy-Load, and Direction-Controllable Photothermal Pneumatic Floating Robot

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posted on 05.05.2021, 13:35 by Xuande Lv, Wenzhong Wang, Adam J. Clancy, Haifeng Yu
Light-fueled actuators are promising in many fields due to their contactless, easily controllable, and eco-efficiency features. However, their application in liquid environments is complicated by the existing challenges of rapid deformation in liquids, light absorption of the liquid media, and environmental contamination. Here, we design a photothermal pneumatic floating robot (PPFR) using a boat-paddle structure. Light energy is converted into thermal energy of air by an isolated photothermal composite, which is then converted into mechanical energy of liquid to drive the movement of PPFRs. By understanding and controlling the photothermal actuation, the PPFR can achieve an average velocity of 13.1 mm s–1 in water and can be modified for remote on-demand differential steering and self-sustained oscillation. The PPFR may be modified to provide a lifting mechanism, capable of moving 4 times the PPFR mass. Various shapes and materials are suitable for the PPFR, providing a platform for liquid surface transporting, water sampling, pollutant collecting, underwater photography, and photocontrol robots in shallow water.