Walking Gel Caterpillar Like The Blob!

A walking gel created by (mad?) scientists at Japan's Waseda University is able to move along like a caterpillar or inchworm. Take a look at this scientific video:

I hope you'll excuse the exclamation point in my title, but you're always supposed to used them whenever mentioning The Blob!

You see, Fifties moviegoers needed the extra excitement of an exclamation point, even when faced with an intrinsically scary scenario such as a mysterious gel that can move on its own, however nonsensical and unlikely such a scenario might be. Take a look at this video clip:

And now, well-meaning researcher Shingo Maeda and his colleagues have made use of an oscillating chemical reaction called the Belousov–Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction. The motile gel caterpillar consists of combined polymers that change in size depending on their chemical environment.

Polymers used in the gel shrink and grow in response to ruthenium bipyridine ions, alternately losing and gaining electrons in the cyclical reaction. That effect has been known for some time, but hasn't been used to make a self-locomoting material on such a scale before, says Maeda.

"In previous work, the displacement of the mechanical oscillation of the gel was very small in comparison with the gel size," he told New Scientist.

Maeda and colleagues created a gel that magnifies the small changes in size by building tension into it. That produces its curved shape as well as amplifying the material's response to the oscillating reaction inside itself.

If the exclamation point has done its work, you're no doubt hoping that one aspect of The Blob! that still eludes scientists is the creation of an intelligent motile gel.

Sorry to disappoint you.

It turns out that scientists at University of the West of England in Bristol, UK, have created a dish of chemicals that use the BZ effect.

Its "thoughts" are waves of ions that form spontaneously and diffuse through the mix. And occasionally, when things get too sluggish, the brain instructs a robotic hand to dip its fingers into the dish and wiggle them about, literally stirring the creative juices.

Well - at least we don't have to put exclamation points on phrases like "gel caterpillar" or "BZ polymer inchworm".

Yet.

Read more at Chemical 'caterpillar' and Introducing the glooper computer (subscription required).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/29/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...' - Isaac Asimov, 1965.

ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...' - EB White, 1950.

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
''Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...' - Andre Laurie, 1895.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

FLIR Black Hornet 3 Palm-sized Drone
These drones can provide situational awareness beyond visual line-of-sight capability.

Dockworkers Protest Driverless Trucks
'It resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

Flying Car Concept By Kash Sirinanda
'Each one consists of a hub with many tiny spokes... On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom...'

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'

Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'

Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.