Manufacturing & Prototyping

Electronics-Free "DraBot" Skims Water, Monitors Environment

An electronics-free, entirely soft robot shaped like a dragonfly developed by engineers at Duke University  can skim across water and react to environmental conditions such as pH, temperature, or the presence of oil. The proof-of-principle demonstration could be the precursor to more advanced, autonomous, long-range environmental sentinels for monitoring a wide range of potential telltale signs of problems. The team created the body, about 2.25 inches long with a 1.4-inch wingspan, by pouring silicon into an aluminum mold and baking it. They used soft lithography to create interior channels and connected with flexible silicon tubing.