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AI-driven Robot Achieves New Heights in Creating High-Impact Absorbing Shape

AI-driven Robot Achieves New Heights in Creating High-Impact Absorbing Shape

In a lab at Boston University's College of Engineering, a revolutionary experiment is underway: a robot is learning and adapting in real-time to create an object capable of absorbing energy more efficiently than any shape known to humanity.

Under its robic guidance, this autonomous robot named MAMA BEAR (Mechanics of Additively Manufactured Architectures Bayesian Experimental Autonomous Researcher), is responsible for creating these ultra-efficient energy absorbers. Each small plastic structure it creates is then subjected to extreme pressure, with the results meticulously recorded and analysed after each experiment.

This learning process lies at the core of an optimization approach called Bayesian optimization. Each crush test provides the robot with valuable data, enabling systematic tweaks in design, ultimately leading to more efficient energy-absorbing results.

Conceived in 2018 and operational since 2021, MAMA BEAR has produced over 25,000 3D-printed structures. The applications for such energy-absorbing materials are vast, from safer packaging for electronics and protective gear, to robust car bumpers.

The lab overcame a significant efficiency milestone in January 2023, when MAMA BEAR constructed a structure achieving a 75 percent energy absorption rate, setting a new record. This record-breaking model, astoundingly, does not resemble any familiar form. Rather, it is a taller, narrower structure with four petal-like points.

First real-world applications of these research insights are already in progress. A collaboration with the US Army has led to an improved design for helmet padding, taking advantage of the novel energy-absorbing structures.

Beyond MAMA BEAR, the lab works with several other autonomous research robots focused on different study areas, such as the nano BEAR. These robots, aided by machine learning and automation, greatly accelerate research pace and broaden learning dimension.

By continuously enhancing efficiency, MAMA BEAR and the team under Professor Keith Brown plan to continue their trend-bucking trajectory. They envisage an extensive range of applications suited to their vast database of energy absorbing structures. In striving for sustainability, efforts are being made to recycle the materials used in the experiments.

In effect, these intelligent and autonomous robots are helping scientists select the best experiments, perform them rapidly, and achieve meaningful results at an unprecedented pace.

Disclaimer: The above article was written with the assistance of AI. The original sources can be found on ScienceDaily.