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3D Printed smart gel that walks underwater...

Engineers in America at Rutgers University - New Brunswick, have created a human like, 3D printed smart gel that can move about underwater.

Although only about one inch high, the form can walk underwater, grab objects and move them. 

During the 3D printing process, light is projected onto a light sensitive solution that then turns into a gel. This is then placed in a saltwater solution and electricity applied to trigger the motions of walking forwards, backwards and grabbing and moving objects. Speed is controlled by the dimensions of the gel form, with thin being faster than thick. The strength of the saltwater solution, along with the amount of electric current supplied, determines how much the gel bends or changes shape. 

This technique brings “great potential within biomedical engineering because the gel resembles tissues in the human body that also contains lots of water and are very soft,” says Howon Lee, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  

It may also be used to make artificial heart, stomach and other muscles, along with devices for diagnosing diseases, detecting and delivering drugs and performing underwater inspections.

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