You may have heard that the Swiss make some amazing chocolates, but now there is another edible item that it may get to be famous for - edible robots. It is not a new practice to imbibe robotics into the field of medicine and we are slowly becoming comfortable to the idea of having robots perform complex surgeries with more precision than their human counterparts.
A recent paper by Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) brings forward the idea of having gelatine-based actuators, which brings us closer to having edible robots in the near future.
The study puts forward the idea of using "edible materials for a new type of robotic architectures, which we call 'Edible Robotics'. Edible robots can be biodegradable, biocompatible and environmentally sustainable with none or lower level of toxicity."
The Director of the school's Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in conversation with TechCrunch said that this method was envisioned from the inherent drive to create something that was unique, without having any specific target in mind. But if this is actually made feasible, it could become a huge leap for medical science and modern robotic implementation as we know it.
Dario Floreano said in his interview that, "A year ago [grad student and co-author Jun Shintake] came to me and said, 'we are doing all of these bio-inspired robots, but biological systems are eaten and our systems are not'," he explains. "I thought that's very interesting. Food and robots have very different constraints and properties. Even before thinking about what we could make out of them, I thought it was a very interesting challenge to see if we can marry these two fields."
The research shows immense potential and the minds behind are sure that this would be an important step towards technological advancement, "We believe that edible actuators, combined with other edible electronics and sensors, could pave the way towards the new field of edible robotics."