A Controllable Untethered Vehicle Driven by Electrically Actuated Liquid Metal Droplets
Liquid metal is an interesting metallic material with many unique properties that can be applied in many applications. Liquid metal droplets can be activated by an external electrical field in aqueous environments, which has led to the development of novel actuators. However, study on the development and control of liquid metal actuating robots is still absent, which hinders their further applications. In this work, we report the development of a novel controllable untethered vehicle driven by electrically actuated liquid metal droplets in a sodium hydroxide solution. The simplified dynamic model of the vehicle in sodium hydroxide solution was developed. The vehicle's performance, including translational and rotating locomotion with various speeds, was experimentally evaluated. The vehicle driven by liquid metal droplets possesses many advantages such as working silently, almost wear-free motion, and low-power consumed, which has great potential to be applied in liquid metal enabled robotics and automation process such as laboratory automation.