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]

Comments

  1. barry99705 says:

    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. MisterCharlie says:

    I agree with barry, nanorobotics will need to work on microscale actuators before really calling it robotics.

  3. is it just me or can that thing not move on a diagonal?

  4. Nick says:

    That video really brings new meaning to the old phrase “turns on a dime”

    it does turn very abruptly, on the dime or off.

  5. DigitalMind says:

    Yeah I agree. I’m pretty sure there’s a reason they don’t show any of what is actually controlling it.

  6. w00t0t says:

    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”.

  7. Tom says:

    Not to belittle this achievement, but this isn’t a robot by any stretch of the imagination; no more than if I dragged a metal box down the street on a rope.

  8. Dax says:

    Videos should be before the jump please.

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