According to UPI, new light-directed materials developed by researchers at the one and only Tufts University “promise to power smart solar panels that automatically follow the sun’s path across the sky”.
Nature Communications states that the tech could be used to build numerous smart light-driven systems, including soft robots. But what is a soft robot? Frontiers states that these robots are systems that are built from materials, often with mechanical properties, that are quite similar to those with living tissues. They are manufactured in a more organic way.
Brooks Hays, journalist, says, “Engineers developed the new smart materials by combining a variety of programmable photonic crystals on a stretchy composite.” The “photonic sunflower” as it is called – with its own petals – was created of composite material as a sunflower-esque apparatus.
Up to this point in solar panel history, there have only been 3 ways to track the sun: Manual solar tracking, Passive solar tracking and Active solar tracking.
Soft robots paired with light-driven systems can be a real disruptor to the industry.