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Tiny robotic crab is smallest-ever remote-controlled walking robot: Smaller


ItemDate=2022-09-14 16:32:42 Status=publish

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Northwestern University engineers have developed the smallest-ever remote-controlled walking robot -- and it comes in the form of a tiny adorable peekytoe crab.Just a half-millimeter wide the tiny crabs can bend twist crawl walk turn and even jump.

The researchers also developed millimeter-sized robots resembling inchworms crickets and beetles.Although the research is exploratory at this point the researchers believe their technology might bring the field closer to realizing micro-sized robots that can perform practical tasks inside tightly confined spaces.The research will be published on Wednesday (May 25) in the journal Science Robotics.

"Robotics is an exciting field of research and the development of microscale robots is a fun topic for academic exploration " said John A."You might imagine micro-robots as agents to repair or assemble small structures or machines in industry or as surgical assistants to clear clogged arteries to stop internal bleeding or to eliminate cancerous tumors -- all in minimally invasive procedures.""Our technology enables a variety of controlled motion modalities and can walk with an average speed of half its body length per second " added Yonggang Huang who led the theoretical work.To construct the robot the researchers used a shape-memory alloy material that transforms to its "remembered" shape when heated.In this case the researchers used a scanned laser beam to rapidly heat the robot at different targeted locations across its body.

As the robot changes from one phase to another -- deformed to remembered shape and back again -- it creates locomotion.Not only does the laser remotely control the robot to activate it the laser scanning direction also determines the robot's walking direction."Because these structures are so tiny the rate of cooling is very fast " Rogers explained."In fact reducing the sizes of these robots allows them to run faster."To manufacture such a tiny critter Rogers and Huang turned to a technique


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