Tiny robots you didn’t see coming
We like the big-sexy-heavy robots but today we pay tribute to the tiny ones.
Tiny Robots at Georgia Tech and swarm robotics
Researchers at Georgia Tech have created super tiny micro-robots that are powered using vibration from sources such as ultrasound or a piezoelectric speaker. The idea is to have these tiny robots operate within the human body in hopes of repairing damaged cells, organs and attack diseases. The micro-bots are very small and almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
These baby robots are built using a special 3D printed polymer and measure a mere 2 mm and weigh just 5 mg. The special method of manufacturing these micro-bots is called multi-photon lithography.
The micro-bot technology is still in its infant stage but we trust the amazing and smart people at Georgia Tech will continue to develop this technology for real-world use across many industries.
One a side note, our amazing friends at Georgia Tech don’t play around when it comes to robotics. The Kings & Queens of swarm robotics have a Robotarium which allows remote-access to anyone to upload their code and test their robotics ideas in their lab! That is some next level stuff!
Speaking of swarm robotics, lets take a quick flight to Switzerland to see our friends that build other small robots that can collectively work together to jump and push things.
The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne is a research institute and university in Switzerland that specializes in Natural Sciences and engineering.
Combining their expertise on the two subjects, the researchers at their Reconfigurable Robotics Lab have built tiny 10-gram robots that are inspired by ants.
With a size of only 100 milliliters across, the Tribots are able to walk, hope or even leap across obstacles. They basically look like walking PCB boards and have their own electronics and small lithium polymer power source on board.
The key to Tribots movements is the Shape Memory Alloy technology which is a special kind of alloy that deforms when subject to various temperatures. This is not new technology but it is finding its way into the robotics, aerospace and automotive industries
Like ants, these robots can be given different roles such as a leader, worker, follower or coordinator. For instance, the leader robot can signal its worker robot to move locations or follow its path over an obstacle.
The Tribots can also coordinate together and form a Band of Brothers to take over the world. Maybe not that dramatic but you get the idea. We dream of a world where moving wouldn’t be so annoying anymore. Just need about 1000 these Tribots and you’re good to go.
You can’t kill this roach-bot
To top things off, we are heading back to California to check out some cockroach bots. This tiny robot looks like a cockroach and moves like one. Only thing is they are not squishable when you step on them.
At University of California Berkeley, some smart dudes have created a robot that uses electricity which contracts and expands in quick succession creating movement much like a cockroach or earth worm.
The roach-bot is about 3 cm long, weighs less than 0.07 grams and can carry about 6 times its weight.
And we thought cockroaches were pesky enough…
Now for something that will truly blow your mind. An actual cockroach that you can remote-control.
So today we learned that these small robots are coming and they might prove to be more useful than the big guys. After all, many small guys can create one big guy.
Speaking of big guys, check out the Worlds Biggest Arduino Kit - The Colossus.
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