‘Leaf chips’ power small robots
AsiaIndustrial NetNews: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently issued an announcement saying that researchers at the school imitated the pumping mechanism of trees and plants to design a microfluidic device called a “leaf chip” that can flow inside the chip at a stable flow rate. Delivers water and sugar etc. for days.The latest results, published in the journal “Nature Plants”, are expected torobotBring low cost hydraulic power unit.
Tissue systems ranging from mahogany to small daisies, wood and bast in trees and many plants can form natural hydraulic pumps that pump water from the roots to the top leaves through a process of osmosis that does not consume any energy. It also pumps nutrients such as sugars from the leaves back to the roots. Based on these insights, previous studies have developed microfluidic pumps that simulate wood and bast, but these designs often only work for a few minutes and then stop, which is ineffective.
In this new study, MITmechanicalEngineering professor Arnett Hosoy led his team to incorporate another important part of the tree’s pumping system, the leaves, into a microfluidic device. In addition to simulating wood and bast, the new “leaf chip” also simulates the leaves pumping sugar through photosynthesis, transporting sugar from the leaves to the bast, increasing the sugar-water concentration difference, thereby maintaining a stable osmotic pressure, allowing water and nutrients The continuous cycle time of substances in the chip has been increased from minutes to days.
The “Leaf Chip” is a sandwich structure with two plastic slides representing wood and bast, separated by a semi-permeable material. The small channels of the wooden slides are filled with water, the small channels of the bast slides are filled with sugar water, and the bast slides are covered with another layer of membrane to simulate the leaves constantly supplying sugar to the bast. The experimental team connected the “leaf chip” to the test tube and successfully pumped the water from the test tube into the chip, and then pumped the water into another beaker.
In some harsh environments, micro-Robots are often required to work. In order to make these robots “run and jump”, it is not only difficult and expensive to install micro-moving components. Now, the “leaf chip” can act as a micro hydraulic system, providing strong osmotic pressure by supplementing sugar, allowing the micro robot to operate at low cost without installing other components.
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