Jan 23, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

'Tree-on-a-chip,' Latest MIT Nature Inspired Chip That Works On Robots

Mar 22, 2017 01:40 AM EDT

"Tree-on-a-chip" is the latest idea that researchers have worked on. The chip is inspired by the mechanisms in trees to pump water.

The newest "Tree-on-a-chip" where researchers have worked was found to be inspired by the trees' mechanism in supplying sugar and water throughout its entire body. Tech 2 reported how researchers found the connection between the functions of the plant's xylem and phloem and how these plant parts were able to supply water and sugars passively without external pumps.

According to EurekAlert, this microfluidic device, the "Tree-on-a-chip" would eventually mimic the pumping mechanisms to operate in a passive way. The researchers want to use the natural way and see its effectivity in robots even without the use of any moving parts or some external pumps to operate.

After successfully designing the "Tree-on-a-chip," the chip was able to maintain fluid circulation within several days. It's the device's passive pumping capability that can act as actuators for small robots.

Massachusettes Institute of Technology's Associate Department Head and Professor, Anette "Peko" Hosoi said that the chip may be placed as a simple hydraulic actuator for nanobots or small robots. Before, it was a problem of engineers to find a tiny movable part that would pump power in small robots continuously, but with the "Tree-on-a-chip," their problem has been solved.

Robots that are powered by sugar-powered pumps would get the prime benefits from the "Tree-on-a-chip" for its inexpensive pumping mechanism. Hosoi stated clearly that the primary goal of the chip is to work on cheap complexity like that of nature. They would want to integrate the idea of how easy it is to add a xylem on a tree in adding building blocks in robotics in an inexpensive way.

Now, with the use of the "Tree-on-a-chip", it will be easier to design hydraulic robots that could be used for bigger robots. No wonder that nature's way in providing worth for its kind such as supplying water and sugars in a tree has an implied connection with technology. If researchers would always use the nature's way in fulfilling their ideas, the results will always be surprising.

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