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A new material controlled by light may help scientists build better soft-bodied robots.

The developers of the gel say they were inspired by the way a plant grows to face the sunlight. Unlike plants, though, the gel can be made to flex and move almost instantaneously.

The UC Berkeley scientists created the gel using graphene and a synthetic protein similar to elastin, which is found in humans’ blood vessels, skin and more.

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The synthetic elastin, created from genetically engineered bacteria, absorbs water at room temperature, but at higher temperatures it expels the water and shrinks. [Read also: ” Soft Robots Make World Safer for Humans“]

Graphene produces heat when exposed to near-infrared light. Together, the two materials make a light-controlled gel, said professor Seung-Wuk Lee of UC Berkeley’s department of bioengineering. “The graphene is heated by the light, and then the elastin is responding to the heat induced by the light.”

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International Journal for Innovative Research in Science and Technology (IJIRST) is a one of the popular international multidisciplinary, open access, peer-reviewed, fully refereed journal. It is an international journal that aims to contribute to the constant innovative research and training, so as to promote research in the field of science and technology.

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