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World’s Smallest Walking RC Robot Can Crawl on a Penny’s Edge

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In all the fate and darkness of the inevitable robot apocalypse, we were at least comforted by the fact that we see them coming, to this day.Researchers from Northwestern University I stupidly succeeded in making a remote control robot crab small enough to crawl along the edge of a penny.

Making a small robot is far from a new idea. Nanobots have been popular in science fiction for decades, and researchers around the world have already Navigate through the creaturesFor exploratory purposes, or for delivering the drug to a specific part of the anatomy.

However, these robots are often designed to swim in fluids that have already passed through the body’s circulatory system, or simply drift.What Northwestern University Researchers Have Achieved Papers published in Science robotics Yesterday’s journal is building a robot that can be remotely steered without wires or physical connections Run around with either foot Or other, A more unorthodox form of movement.

The researcher-created robot crab is only 0.5 millimeters wide, or about 0.02 inches wide, and can move at about half its length per second. As a matter of course, Although not a speed demon, one of its greatest advantages is its ability to move around undetected, like mites that jumped on their bodies while hiking in the woods. As it is Very small and incredibly lightweight.

So how did researchers find batteries, servos, and other electronic devices that were small enough to fit into a 0.5 mm crab? They didn’t. It uses a completely different movement approach than complex multi-legged robots such as: Boston Dynamics Spots.. Crabs are made from shape memory alloys that deform by a thin coating of glass during the manufacturing process, but return to their original shape when heated. Imagine your arms bent. However, instead of muscles, simply point your hair dryer at your arm and your arm will straighten. After that, when it cools down, it bends again.

In this case, a precise laser beam is used to heat specific points on the robot crab’s body in specific sequences, and as its various parts deform and bend back again as it’s heated and cooled, the researchers are able to make it locomote from point A to point B, plus turn and jump as well. It’s not quite as dextrous or agile as the dog-like robot Spot, which can deftly climb stairs and scamper over rough terrain, but Spot also can’t crawl inside a tiny crack in a wall, or into someone’s ear. (A truly nightmarish potential use of this tech.)

A tiny crab was just one form these micro-robots could take. The researchers also built similarly-sized bots that emulate the movements of inchworms, beetles, and crickets, but entirely different forms could be manufactured too, based on the environment where they would be operated. Moving across a beach, for example, would be much easier with repeated jumping motions, as at this scale those grains of sand wouldn’t be so tiny.

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