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Bendy bots break rules

“章鱼机器人”开启软体机器人新时代

中文 英文 双语 2017-08-18    来源:21世纪英文报      阅读数:67095
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导读:在我们的印象中,机器人都是由坚硬的金属外壳组成的大块头。但你是否能想象,有朝一日机器人也可以随意弯曲,收缩自如?近期,科学家们就造出了一个软萌软萌的章鱼机器人……

Traditionally, robots have been stiff, *angular entities, made of metal and other rigid materials (think C-3PO in Star Wars). But a team of scientists at Harvard University in the US has managed to build an entirely soft robot – one that draws inspiration from an *octopus.
传统意义上的机器人坚硬、棱角分明,多由金属以及其他刚性材料构成(想想《星球大战》里的C-3PO就知道了)。但受到一只章鱼的启发,美国哈佛大学的一个科学家团队制造了一个全软体机器人。

Described in science journal Nature, the “Octobot” could pave the way for more effective *automatons that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with humans.
据科学期刊《自然》描述,这种“章鱼机器人”为发明更有效的机器人铺平了道路,将来能用于研究、救援、探测等方面,和人类互动也更为安全。

“The octobot is a minimal system designed to demonstrate our integrated design and *fabrication strategy,” the study’s authors wrote, “which may serve as a foundation for a new generation of completely soft, autonomous robots.”
“章鱼机器人是一个最小化的系统,其设计体现出了我们的整合设计以及制造策略,”该研究的作者写道,“这或许会为新一代全软体自动机器人打下基础。”

Robots built for precise, repetitive movements in a controlled environment don’t do so well on rough *terrains or in unpredictable conditions. And they aren’t especially safe around humans, because they’re made out of hard and heavy parts that could be potentially dangerous to their flesh-and-bone counterparts.
在受控环境中用于重复性精确运动的机器人在崎岖地形或不可预测的条件下表现不佳,且对人们而言并非十分安全,因为这些机器人由坚硬沉重的部件组成,对人类的血肉之躯来说或许是个潜在的危险。

So researchers have been working on building soft robots for decades. They’ve taken inspiration from nature, looking to animals from jellyfish to *cockroaches, which are often composed of more *malleable matter.
因此,研究人员们数十年来一直在研究建造软体机器人。它们从大自然中汲取灵感,借鉴了从水母到蟑螂等由更多可塑性物质组成的动物。

But creating a completely soft robot remains a challenge. Even if engineers build a *silicone body, it’s still a *feat to construct flexible versions of essential internals, such as *circuitry and a source of power.
但创造出一个全软体机器人依然是个挑战。即便工程师们建造出了一个硅胶主体,但能制造出有弹性的电路系统以及电源等必要的内在部件依然是一大成功。

“Creating a new class of fully soft, autonomous robots is a grand challenge, because it requires soft *analogues of the control and power hardware currently used,” the study’s authors wrote.
“创造新一级全软体自动机器人是个巨大的挑战,因为它需要现有的控制以及电源硬件类似的柔性材料,”该研究的作者写道。

However, researchers from Harvard University managed to do just that. Octobot’s eight arms move thanks to a system of *inflatable *compartments. The moving parts are connected to a network of channels that send liquid fuel to mix with a *platinum-based catalyst inside reaction chambers. As the fuel *decomposes, it releases pressurized oxygen that inflates chambers, allowing the Octobot’s “tentacles” to move.
然而,哈佛大学的研究人员却做到了这一点。章鱼机器人的八只机械臂由一个充气腔系统来驱动。这些运动部件与一个管道网络相连。这个管道网络能输送液体燃料,将其与反应室中的以铂为原料的催化剂混合。随着燃料的不断分解,将会释放出充满整个反应室的加压氧气,让章鱼机器人的“触手”移动。

The movements are controlled by a series of logic gates – basically a fluid-filled version of a circuit board. The scientists managed to create this complex system using several techniques, including *soft-lithography and 3-D printing.
(章鱼机器人)的行动由一系列逻辑门进行控制 —— 基本上就是一个充满液体的电路板。科学家们设法运用多种技术来创造这一复杂的系统,包括软光刻技术以及3-D打印技术等等。

Octobot is just the first step toward creating more advanced and capable machines, according to researchers. Its current capabilities are very limited, but designing and building more complex robots will mean integrating several different materials and introducing many new abilities, including more advanced movement, power and control. And despite its current *rudimentary status, octobot shows that this can be done.
研究人员表示,章鱼机器人是创造更先进、更有能力的机器的第一步。现在章鱼机器人的能力还十分有限,但设计制造更复杂的机器人将意味着整合多种不同的材料,增加许多新技能,如更先进的运转、电源以及控制系统。尽管章鱼机器人目前还处于初步阶段,但它却展现了做到这一切的可能性。

“Although soft robotics is still in its infancy, it holds great promise for several applications, such as servicing and inspecting machinery, search-and-rescue operations, and exploration,” Barbara Mazzolai and Virgilio Mattoli of the Italian Institute of Technology’s Center for Micro-BioRobotics, wrote in a commentary. “Soft robots might also open up new approaches to improving wellness and quality of life.”
“尽管软体机器人还在雏形阶段,但它在维修检查机械、搜索救援行动以及勘测等几种用途上大有可为,”意大利技术研究院微型仿生机器人中心的芭芭拉·玛祖莱以及维尔吉利奥·马托蒂在一则评论中写道。“软体机器人或许还能开辟改善健康和生活质量的新途径。”

21英语网站版权说明  (Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Ji Yuan)


以上文章内容选自《21世纪英文报》,详情请见《21世纪英文报》1171期
辞海拾贝
Angular棱角分明的 Octopus章鱼
Automatons机器人 Fabrication制造
Terrain地带、地形 Cockroaches蟑螂
Malleable能适应的 Silicone硅酮
Feat成就,功绩 Circuitry电路系统
Analogues相似体 Inflatable充气的
Compartments腔,间室 Platinum铂,白金
Decomposes分解 Soft-lithography软光刻技术
Rudimentary初步的 


 
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