Scientists in Northwestern University Successfully Create World's Smallest Robot

Northwestern University Scientists Successfully Create World's Smallest Robot
Northwestern University Scientists Successfully Create World's Smallest Robot

International Military - Researchers at Northwestern University announced the success of making the world's smallest robot that is controlled remotely using a laser. However, until now scientists still do not know what this small crab-shaped robot will be used for.

The smallest robot is shaped like a crab and only half a millimeter (about 1/50 inch) wide. These robots do not have an energy source to move, but they can be controlled remotely using a laser.

Quoted from the Newsforkids page, Tuesday (31/5/2022), the researchers said the robot was designed a bit like a 3D popup book. The basic shape of the crab is flat. The flat shape is then attached to the stretched rubber material.

When the rubber material is allowed to relax, the robot emerges into a standing crab. This mixture of layers is the secret of the crab's movement. The different layers give the material two positions it can enter. When the rigid glass layer is softened, the rubber layer will bend the material.

But when the rigid layer hardens again, it returns to its original position. Scientists call this "form-memory". The trick to softening a rigid layer of glass is to heat it with a laser.

Because the robot's size is so small, its parts heat up and cool down very quickly. By heating different parts of the robots, scientists can make them move in different ways.

Researchers say their robot can crawl, walk, turn and even jump. However, this robot cannot move fast. But given their small size, they're not too slow either. A crab takes about 20 seconds to cover 1 centimeter (26 seconds to cover a half inch).

Currently robots are not very useful because all they can do is move. They have to be in a place where the laser can shine on them to do that. But scientists say the robots are an important step towards creating smaller, more useful robots.

Researchers say that one day small robots like this might be able to work in very small spaces. It is possible that they could build very tiny machines, or perhaps even travel inside the human body to help with medical problems.

Using similar construction methods, the scientists created a number of different robots, including those that looked like worms, beetles and crickets. John Rodgers, one of the scientists, said that they have been able to make robots that walk in various sizes or 3D shapes.

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