Researchers in Switzerland have created gelatin-based robots that can be eaten by humans or animals and carry out tasks within their bodies. Edible robots are an offshoot of soft robotics which is a thriving field.
By making robots soft, small, and edible, scientists can explore a multitude of new applications for robotics in the body. The use cases range from using robots as FOOD, to studying endangered species’ migration patterns, to serving as a medical device that can help heal injuries.
Scientists in the field of soft robotics have already been developing flexible materials capable of extending, contracting, or bending in response to simple control inputs. These materials can make robots more lifelike, and help them move and work independently in less “robotic” ways. Advances on this front have brought us soft robots capable of gripping or lifting fragile objects. For example, they can grab and move easy-to-bruise fruit in packing facilities.
Edible soft robotics are a further offshoot of that idea. Scientists have already created edible transistors, batteries, electrodes, capacitors, and sensors. This means edible robots can store and transmit energy. But getting these components to do useful things after ingestion requires an actuator (or motor) that is safe for consumption and digestion.
Original article can be found here.