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On-demand orbital maneuver of multiple soft robots via hierarchical magnetomotility

Abstract: Magnetic soft robots facilitate the battery-free remote control of soft robots. However, parallel control of multiple magnetic robots is challenging due to interference between robots and difficult maneuvers. Here we present the orbital maneuvering of manifold magnetic soft robots. Magneto-induced motion (magnetomotility) that includes the hierarchy of rotation and resultant revolution allows for the independent control of the robot’s velocity and orbital radius. The soft robot achieves a speed of 60 body length (BL) s−1, which is approximately 50, 000 times faster with 1/7 the weight of the current lightest legged soft robot. The hierarchical magnetomotility is suitable for versatile locomotion such as stairs and uphill climbing, underwater and above water swimming. Owing to their swimming functionality, a swarm of such soft robots is capable of transportation of cargo. On-demand orbital maneuvering of magnetic soft robots provides a new methodology for concurrent actuation of multiple robots exhibiting collective behaviors.

Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 4751 (2019)

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