"Leaf chip" provides hydraulic power for small robots
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently announced that its researchers have designed a microfluidic device called "leaf chip" to simulate the pumping mechanism of trees and plants, which can deliver water and sugar in the chip at a stable flow rate for several days. This latest achievement is expected to bring low-cost hydraulic power devices to small robots
tissue systems ranging from mahogany to Daisy, wood and phloem in trees and many plants can form natural hydraulic pumps. These hydraulic pumps can not only pump root water to the top leaves, but also pump nutrients such as sugar back to the roots through the infiltration process without consuming any energy. Based on these perceptions, previous studies have developed microfluidic pumps that simulate wood and phloem, but these designs often stop after only a few minutes of operation, with poor results
in this new research, MIT mechanical engineering professor Arnett hosoi led his team to incorporate leaves, another important part of the tree pumping system, into the microfluidic device. The new "leaf chip" not only simulates wood and phloem, but also simulates the sugar pumping technology of leaves through photosynthesis, The sugar "carbon nanotube material can not only bring great returns to the aerospace field, but also transport it from leaves to phloem, increase the concentration difference between sugar and water, so as to maintain a stable osmotic pressure, and increase the continuous circulation time of water and nutrients in the chip from a few minutes to several days.
" leaf chip "adopts a sandwich structure, with two plastic slides representing wood and phloem respectively, separated by semi permeable materials. The small channel of the wooden slide is full of water, and the small channel of the phloem slide is full of sugar water. The phloem slide is covered with another layer of film connecting the signal line between the software and the servo machine, so as to simulate that the leaves constantly supplement sugar to the phloem. Then at least one dozen whole samples were produced continuously. The experimental team connected the "leaf chip" with the test tube, successfully pumped the water in the test tube into the chip, and then pumped the water into another beaker
in some places with harsh environment, micro robots are often required to work. In order to make these robots "run and jump", installing micro mobile components is not only difficult, but also expensive. Now, "leaf chip" can act as a micro hydraulic system, providing strong osmotic pressure by supplementing sugar, so that the micro robot can run at low cost without installing other parts
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