Smaller than a flea, and shaped like a miniature crab, that’s right remote control walking robot smallest in history, which has been created by engineers from the Northwestern University.
This android is about half a millimeter wide, can bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn, and even jump. In addition, scientists created millimeter-sized robots that resemble inchworms, crickets, and beetles.
The study was recently published in the journal Science Robotics:
“Robotics is an exciting field of research, and the development of microscale robots is a fun topic for academic exploration,” said John A. Rogers, who led the experimental work. “Micro-robots could be imagined as agents to repair or assemble small structures or machines in industry or as surgical assistants to clear clogged arteries, stop internal bleeding, or remove cancerous tumors, all in minimally invasive procedures.”
“Our technology enables a variety of controlled movement modalities and can walk with an average speed of half its body length per second,” added Yonggang Huang, who led the theoretical work. “This is very difficult to achieve at such small scales for ground-based robots.”
The crab, which is smaller than a flea, is not propelled by sophisticated machinery, hydraulics, or electricity. Instead, the elastic resistance of his body is where his power rests. The researchers used a shape-memory alloy material to build the robot, which transforms to its ‘remembered’ shape when heated.
“With these assembly techniques and material concepts, we can build walking robots with almost any size or 3D shape,” said Rogers.