The team has improved flying robots - now they can glow like fireflies. It will help better
The new work builds on the team's previous work on ultra-light flying robots.
A key component of the devices was a soft drivein the form of a cylinder, which was made from alternating layers of elastomer and carbon nanotubes. When voltage is applied, the carbon electrodes compress the elastomer, which creates mechanical stress that causes the wing to flap.
During the new work, the authors modifiedactuators so that they glow during operation. To do this, they introduced zinc sulfate particles into the outer layer of the elastomer. These particles are electroluminescent, which means they glow in the presence of an electric field—in this case, one that passes through layers of carbon nanotubes.
According to the authors, the light from the drones can be used to track them and also to interact with each other.
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