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Natural Cilia and Pine Needles Combinedly Inspired Asymmetric Pillar Actuators for All-Space Liquid Transport and Self-Regulated Robotic Locomotion

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posted on 2022-10-25, 13:34 authored by Jiaqi Miao, Siqi Sun, Tieshan Zhang, Gen Li, Hao Ren, Yajing Shen
Natural structures and motion behaviors open new avenues for effective small-scale transport, such as the plant-inspired energy-free liquid transport surfaces and cilia-inspired propulsion systems. However, they are restricted by either the fixed structure or nonself-regulating beating modes, making many complex tasks remain challenging, e.g., the controllable multidirectional liquid transport and flexible propulsion. Herein, inspired by pine needles and natural cilia, we report an asymmetric-structured intelligent magnetic pillar actuator (AI-MPA) with both the “passive” and “active” transport features. Under the control of the magnetic field, the AI-MPA shows an all-space liquid transport ability toward arbitrary directions. Moreover, benefiting from the material’s magnetoelasticity and asymmetric-structured design, the AI-MPA enables self-regulation of two-dimensional (2D)/three-dimensional (3D) cilia-like beating modes and can be further developed for robotic crawling and self-rotatable motion. The AI-MPA integrates the superiority of static and dynamic systems in nature and exhibits intelligent self-regulation that could not be achieved before. Confirmed theoretically and demonstrated experimentally, this work provides insights into increasingly functional and intelligent miniature biomimetic systems, with applications from directional liquid transport to robotic locomotion.

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