Remember when we were so fascinated by artificial intelligence when they first came up? We were shocked to find that robots could behave like humans. But, one thing was certain that they could never imitate vital human functions. Well, we were wrong. Scientists from Michigan University have released their research on creating biomorphic batteries. It basically means that this battery helps robots to function like humans. In the sense that they can now store “fat reserves” as a source of energy in their bodies.
The purpose of this new biomorphic battery is to increase a battery’s capacity. A robot’s functioning capabilities have reached new heights with this invention. Now, they can mimic a human being’s ability to store and distribute energy. Moreover, it has been reported that this battery is much more powerful than the traditional lithium-ion kind.
Robots One Step Closer To Humans?
An engineering professor from Michigan University, Nicholas Kotov, is one of the leading researchers in this project. He stated that conventional robot design involves keeping at least 20 percent of its inside space aside for batteries. According to the researchers, this greatly affects a robot’s power capacity.
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Another leading researcher in the project, Mingqiang Wang, published a research paper in Science Robotics on the issue. He said that they can increase a robot’s power capacity by simply replacing its exterior batteries. Traditionally, engineers use lithium-ion batteries. He said that using zinc batteries instead can power a robot 72 times more.
The researchers also said that they were flexible on the placement of the biomorphic battery. Ahmet Emre, another researcher involved in the project, said that batteries serve two functions. First is that they store charge. Second is that they protect a robot’s insides. Thus, in the process, replicating a human being’s fat tissue and it’s multifunctionality.
Prof. Kotov further added that they don’t use one single bulky sack of fat that would be costly to transfer energy. He said that the best way to distribute and store energy in a robot would be to replicate human biology. He also said that to achieve optimum efficiency with regards to the battery would be taking advantage of biomorphic devices.
New Biomorphic Batteries More Environmentally Friendly
Hydroxide ions are passed through the air and a zinc electrode through a unique membrane that is coated. It is called “aramid nanofiber.” This material is also used in polymer gels (water-based) and kevlar Vesta. Moreover, they are mostly nontoxic. What this means is that, in comparison to the traditional batteries, these are much better for the environment.
Of course, like everything else, this biomorphic battery has a downside too. This battery does increase a robot’s power capacity. However, this increase in capacity is maintained only for around hundreds of charge cycles. This is far fewer than the lithium-ion batteries. But, the good news is that biomorphic batteries are much cheaper. Moreover, researchers have stated that they can be easily recycled.
The introduction of these biomorphic batteries for robots is a breakthrough in the field of robotic science.
Image Credit: Kotov Lab | University of Michigan