Engineers from MIT and Cornell University creates ‘Tree-on-a-chip‘ to Mimic Pumping Mechanism of Plants.
It is true that many companies nowadays dedicate themselves, practically full-time, to work on increasingly capable robots. Thanks to this we know the amazing creatures, for example, of Boston Dynamics. On the other hand, the truth is that there are already many companies able to offer products like this so the real challenge is to miniaturize all these elements and even to eliminate all kinds of moving parts.
The true motivation for the latter, as many engineers and researchers argue, is to develop and manufacture robots that can perform complex tasks at a price, both acquisition and maintenance, reasonable. This can only be achieved by making these creatures much smaller and, above all, getting rid of much of their moving parts, a task that is much more complex than we can imagine.
MIT creates the smallest hydraulic pump in the world.
This is where a group of researchers from MIT has been working on getting rid of moving parts and, for that, they decided to take inspiration from what they themselves have called the most effective hydraulic pumps on the planet, the trees. If we develop this idea a little more, what these scientists refer to is the way in which these living beings feed themselves, by which they can send water constantly from the base to the top of their branches.
Inside the trees there is a complex system full of conductive tissues called xylem and phloem which, thanks to a surface tension between water and the imbalance of sugar levels, produce in stable pumping. This may seem simple, at least at the theoretical level as has been demonstrated on countless occasions, unfortunately if we do it in a practical way the result is not a constant flow .
To solve this problem in the MIT have discovered that the leaves of the trees, in turn, provide this system, via photosynthesis, sugar which causes that, if your system you add an additional sugar source it offers a flow Constant without the need for moving parts or installing pumps of any kind.