Many kinds of stimuli-responsive polymer and gels have been developed and applied to biomimetic actuators or artificial muscles. Electroactive polymers that change shape when stimulated electrically seem to be particularly promising. In all cases, however, the mechanical motion is driven by external stimuli, for example, reversing the direction of electric field. On the other hand, many living organisms can generate an autonomous motion without external driving stimuli like self-beating of heart muscles. Here we show a novel biomimetic gel actuator that can walk spontaneously with a worm-like motion without switching of external stimuli. The self-oscillating motion is produced by dissipating chemical energy of oscillating reaction. Although the gel is completely composed of synthetic polymer, it shows autonomous motion as if it were alive.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry