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Is it possible to move using the curvature of spacetime?  A new discovery suggests that - Scientific News.it

Is it possible to move using the curvature of spacetime? A new discovery suggests that – Scientific News.it

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A motion carried out in curved space that defies the normative laws of physics as we know it: This is announced in a new statement published by the Georgia Institute of Technology regarding a new study that appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It is possible to move in curved spaces without having to press something

Usually when you move you push your body against something, whether it’s air, water, or land. The researchers show, in the new study, that it’s possible to move in curved spaces without having to push against something. To demonstrate this concept is Zeb Rocklin, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech School of Physics, who also created a small robotic system that he demonstrates experimentally: an object can move by changing shape in the simplest curved space, a sphere. When the small robot created by the researchers changes its shape, in fact, it tends to move forward, which is completely counterintuitive because it is the first time that it has been shown that the movement can be carried out practically without interaction with the surrounding environment.

The field of robotics is advancing more and more

The special mechanism created by the researchers produces strange dynamics with properties that neither gravity nor friction can produce. These are very limited effects at the moment, but the field of robotics is advancing more and more. In the context of robotic motion, a full understanding of the curvature-induced effect may be very important as was the minimal frequency displacement induced by gravity that became fundamental, in terms of calculations, to make GPS systems possible.

See also  ASI | Italian space agency

Impossible drive?

Moreover, replicating such effects on a larger scale and more efficiently could lead to new types of spacecraft. One might think, for example, of a spacecraft that could exploit the curved space around black holes. It would be a kind of “impossible engine”, as Rocklin himself explains, a concept that has been addressed many times but has never led to anything concrete on a scientific level. In this case, given that spacetime is really curved, a device that exploits this curvature to move forward without interacting with the surrounding environment would exploit an essentially non-existent ‘push’.

Notes and insights

  1. Robotic motion in curved space defies the standard laws of physics | College of Science | Georgia Institute of Technology | Atlanta, GA
  2. Robotic swimming in curved space through geometric phase | PNAS (DOI: /10.1073/pnas.2200924119)

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