The researchers conducted a gripper grasping test. /EPEL Photo
According to the researchers, gelatin actuators can be used to pick up objects, especially soft and sensitive items. In the study, researchers conducted a gripper grasping test, in which they adjusted the actuated force to handle the gripper to grasp different things. The actuator could bend when inflated and straighten out when the pressure is reduced.
In the researchers' opinions, the edible robots could be eaten not only by human but also by themselves in the future. Since edible materials can generate an emergency source of electric energy, a self-eating function is not impossible for robots, similar to an octopus.
Could be electronics safe to eat? It seems so.
A completely edible soft pneumatic actuator, which is made of gelatin, glycerin and water, was presented by researchers from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) last week, according to multiple foreign media outlets.
Although it doesn't taste good, the new kind of actuator is biodegradable, biocompatible and environmentally sustainable, explained the researchers. With the ability to be mixed with nutrient or pharmaceutical components for digestion, the edible robots could enable various novel applications, they said.
"Potential applications are disposable robots for exploration, digestible robots for medical purposes in humans and animals, and food transportation where the robot does not require additional payload because the robot is the food."