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Bioinspired Distributed Energy in Robotics and Enabling Technologies

Rudra Mukherjee, Priyanka Ganguly,
Published: 26 May 2021
Advanced Intelligent Systems ; doi:10.1002/aisy.202100036

Abstract: On-board sources of energy are critically needed for autonomous robots to work in unstructured environments for extended periods. Thus far, the power requirement of robots has been met through lead-acid and Li-ion batteries and energy harvesters. However, few advances such as light weight, the shape, and size of the batteries used in robotics have remained unchanged for several decades, even though if the research in energy storage has led to devices with flexible form factors. Besides being slow at adopting new energy technologies, robotics also appears to have settled with the idea of centralized energy, as evident from the battery backpack designs of several humanoids. This is in contrast with the biological world, where energy sources are distributed all over the body. Although several attempts have been made to imitate the distributed tactile skin, the energy distribution has strangely not caught attention. A robotic platform can benefit from increased energy density, lesser design complexities, improved body dynamics, and operational reliability with distributed energy. By focusing on the distributed energy, herein, the first comprehensive review supporting the benefits of bioinspired distributed energy in robotics and various energy-storage and energy-harvesting technologies that are available or are tuned to attain the same are presented.
Keywords: biomimetics / distributed energy / flexible electronics / robotics

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