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Self-Walking Gel


  • This work was supported in part by i) “The innovative research on symbiosis technologies for human and robots in the elderly dominated society,” 21st Century Center of Excellence (COE) Program, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; ii) “Establishment of Consolidated Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care,” Encouraging Development Strategic Research Centers Program, the Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan; and iii) a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research to R.Y. from JSPS, Japan (No. 15205027). Supporting Information is available online through Wiley InterScience or from the authors.


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You'll never walk alone? A gel actuator that can generate autonomous motility with a wormlike motion without external driving stimuli is produced. The autonomous motion is produced by dissipating the chemical energy of an oscillating reaction occurring inside the gel. Even though the gel is completely composed of synthetic polymer, it shows an autonomous motion as if it were “alive”. By coupling this with a ratchet mechanism, the gel walks by repeatedly bending and stretching itself like a looper (see figure).

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