Technology

Autonomous Robots Don’t Need Software, Computer Repairmen to Fix Circuits

It turns out that not all autonomous robots need artificial intelligence (AI) for their power. However, they can eliminate the need for IT support in Edmonton. Nanobots can do amazing things without being programmed about which moves they should make. They move because the laws of physics force them to move in certain ways. In fact, the entire process is quite interesting.

However, scientists have improved such robots and have built robots that can actually fix broken circuits that are too tiny for human eyes to spot. The small repairs could result in today’s electronics having a longer shelf life. However, the autonomous nanobots could have an even bigger potential. One day they could be used in materials that heal themselves and even help to deliver certain drugs inside people’s bodies. It might sound like science fiction, but these are certainly some potential applications of the little bots.

The robots were constructed by Joseph Wang from the University of California, San Diego, as well as Anna Balazs from the University of Pittsburgh. The two researchers were inspired from the natural world. It might be surprising, but in fact several inventions in the past such as Velcro were actually developed based on phenomena that exist in nature.

The UC and Pittsburgh researchers were inspired by the situation in which people are cut. The blood in the person’s body then detects the small wound and starts building itself up in order to launch the process of healing. The researchers wished to construct small robots that would have a similar effect.

The researchers began with Janus particles that consisted of gold as well as platinum. These round nanobots are also known as “nanomotors.” They are thousands of times tinier than a miniscule pinhead and have 2 surfaces with clear properties. This choice was made in order to power the tiny bots to function as Want/Balazs wished themed to.

In the case that the Janus particles are then poured into a solution with hydrogen peroxide, ½ of the particle that contains platinum then reacts with the chemical and causes the release of oxygen. The reaction is so fast that the oxygen released causing the nanobots to move forward like a jet is powered by rocket fuel.

The researchers then wanted to test if the Janus particles inside the mixture of chemicals would follow their commands. Wang and Balazs made a basic circuit that linked a battery up to a LED light. Next they broke the circuit by making one scratch that was smaller than 1/10 of a human hair’s width. Then after the Janus particles/hydrogen peroxide mixture was poured onto the broken circuit, the nanobots got busy.

After half an hour they were able to remove the mixture and switched the battery on to discover that the Led light was functioning again. However, in another circuit that only included the Janus particles the repair was not done.

The researchers think the scratch made differences in the various surface energies that the nanobots’ gold side could pick up. A computer simulation showed how the process worked.

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