Well, if you’re not scared about the singularity yet, how about now? Stanford robotics just demonstrated six MicroTug (μTug) minibots — weighing 100g together — move an 1800kg sedan on polished concrete.
The research is being performed at Stanford’s Biomimetrics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab by [David L. Christensen] of the Engineering department — the car being pulled? His. The tests were performed to determine the effectiveness of robotic teamwork — mimicking the behaviors shown by ants.
The robots use an adhesive technique as found in gecko feet to adhere themselves to the concrete, and use micro-winches to tug the car. Individually each μTug minibot can pull 23kg. The strength to weight ratio of the hoard of minibots is 18,000:1!
Continue reading “Cockroach-sized Robots Pull Full-Size Sedan”
We love it when this happens. Sometimes we post about cool technology that companies are developing which might start an outcry of “not a hack” — but then, just sometimes, it still inspires a few readers. [Jeroen Domburg] — who everyone knows as [Sprite_TM] and is a judge for The Hackaday Prize] — saw a recent video about micro robots, a project funded by DARPA, and decided to try making his own.
We shared the original story a few months ago about these replicator like micro-robots, which can quite literally swarm over surfaces, use tools, and manufacture micro-sized parts. The robots themselves are actually just dumb little magnets — the magic is in the surface underneath them.
This sparked an interest in several people, and [Mike] made a very simple version of it, capable of 1-dimensional movement. This inspired [Sprite_TM] to step it up a notch, with his own 2-dimensional version. He’s designed his own PCB that allows him to run current in various directions through the traces of the board — this effectively allows him to control a small neodymium magnet to go whichever way he wants.
Continue reading “Micro-Robots Made At Home, Who Needs DARPA Funding?”
A team of scientists at SRI international are creating real-life replicators from Star Gate SG1 — micro-robots capable of smart (and scary!) manufacturing. Thousands working in parallel will be able to achieve tasks previously unheard of, in a completely compact and integrated system.
These tiny ant-like robot systems are magnetically controlled and can use tools, move at incredible speeds, and swarm over surfaces. SRI’s vision was “to have an army of ants under your control”. It’s actually been an ongoing project since the 1990’s — but a recent undisclosed chunk of funding from DARPA has helped accelerate the project — giving it a new title of the MicroFactory for Macro Products project.
You have to see the video to believe it. Potential applications for these tiny swarm-bots include precise pick & place manufacturing, micro bio-technology, electronics manufacturing, and even rapid prototyping of high quality parts.
We get shivers just watching them slide around effortlessly on almost any surface.
Continue reading “Micro-Robots Are Scary Awesome”