Magnetically actuated microbots

The Carnegie Mellon NanoRobotics Lab uses external magnetic fields to precisely control their nanosoccer players. The micro robots are just 300×300 micron specs of neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnets that have been laser machined. The working volume is surrounded by five electromagnetic coils. Four coils are used for position while the fifth provides clamping force to the work surface. The bot can be operated almost anywhere as long as the surface isn’t magnetically active. Machine vision is used to watch the bot and provide feedback control. Embedded below is the robot moving across a glass slide next to a dime. It can travel at speeds up to 60 body lengths per second.

[via BotJunkie]

8 thoughts on “Magnetically actuated microbots

  1. I wouldn’t really call that a robot. It’s more like a little bitty magnet being moved by other magnets. Kinda like I used to do on the kitchen table, just smaller.

  2. I have to agree, nanorobotics is a new field, but when I look at that it looks like a little chuck of magnetic material being manipulated by an external force. Now that doesn’t mean it can’t do something useful, like moving delicate parts into place or manipulate tissue in medical procedures. Its just when I think of a robot (autonomous or not) I think of a self controlled device capable of its own locomotion.

    It is amazing how they can control it though, I wonder how acuratley they can place that “robot”.

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