A multifunctional robotic system toward moveable sensing and energy harvesting

    The operations of the triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) highly rely on the availability of the mechanical motion source depending on the location, time, weather, etc. Thus, it is highly demanded to achieve moveable mechanical sensing and energy harvesting, but it is also challenging considering the system complexity, size, and weight. To this end, an electrostatic robotic system capable of locomotion, energy harvesting, and vibration sensing is proposed in this paper. The main body of the robot is an integration of an electrostatic actuator and a TENG, both of which share the same structure and materials and utilize the mechanical and electrical characteristics of electrostatic effects, respectively. The prototype is lightweight (2.46 g) and compact (3.7 cm in height and 9.1 cm in length), consisting of two conductive films as the main body in a zipper-like form and two flat conductive films as feet. Here we demonstrate the multifunctionality of this prototype by driving the robot crawling on the ground at a speed of 2.2 mm/s at maximum with a mini camera for monitoring, anchoring by electrostatic adhesive feet at the aim location where vibration is strong, sensing the vibration frequency accurately while having an average relative error of 8.7% in measuring the amplitude, and harvesting the energy by TENG. Such a multifunctional robotic system may enable broad potential applications in structural health monitoring, environmental surveillance, rescue, risky intervention, etc.



Yiqiang Fu, Hongqiang Wang* , Yunlong Zi*, and Xuanquan Liang. A multifunctional robotic system toward moveable sensing and energy harvesting. Nano Energy , 2021, 89, 106368.