In many liquid spill scenarios, manual cleanup can entail significant risk due to the toxicity of the liquid, the risk of contagion, or the danger of the surrounding environment.
Especially in the current pandemic period of the new crown, how to deal with dangerous infectious materials is a hot topic.
A recent study published in Materials Horizons shows that researchers have constructed the first flexible robotic gripper capable of manipulating individual liquid droplets.
Flexible robotic grippers are made of inexpensive and lightweight materials such as nylon fibers and tape, and are powered by electrically activated artificial muscles capable of very fine manipulation.
The flexible robot gripper is treated with a new superhydrophobic coating at the gripper, which is resistant to almost all types of liquid immersion, even during the dynamics of tilting or moving the contact surface.
The superhydrophobic coating allows the gripper to grab, transport and release individual droplets as if they were solids without breaking the surface tension of the droplets.
The droplet manipulator is inexpensive and can be used in a single pass, the researchers say, and also has enough power to perform precise, nondestructive liquid cleanup.