Friday, July 07, 2017

Light-Fuelled Wave Machine

Via "Stat News": "A crawling caterpillar made of polymers"
Scientists have created a new material that can dance better than most of us. They created a polymer strip that’s about as big as a paperclip and moves about as fast as a caterpillar. The material — which contracts in reaction to light — works by casting a shadow on itself.

Researchers shine a light on one side of the strip, which starts to curl up and casts a shadow onto the next part of the strip. That section comes into light and starts to change shape, creating a continual wave that propels the paper forward. Study author Anne Helene Gelebart tells me the material might one day be used to transport small devices to tricky-to-reach places during surgery.