American scientists design fastest microrobots in the world

January 19, 2024  12:04

American robot engineers from the University of Washington have constructed the smallest, lightest, and fastest fully functional robots to date. The research findings were presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation by the IEEE on intelligent robots and systems.

These miniature devices are designed in the form of a beetle and a water strider. The weight of the first robot is just eight milligrams, while the second device weighs 55 milligrams. Both are capable of moving at a speed of around six millimeters per second on both water and land surfaces.

The uniqueness of these microrobots lies in their drives, weighing less than a milligram. They use a shape-memory alloy that changes its configuration when heated and then returns to its original form. This property allows for the creation of very robust engines without moving and rotating parts.

waterskimmer 2.JPG (46 KB)

The engines of the beetle-like robots consist of two tiny wires with a diameter of 0.0025 centimeters. They are heated and cooled by a small current, enabling the robots to move their limbs at a frequency of up to 40 times per second. In preliminary tests, the micromotor was able to lift a weight 150 times greater than its own.

Scientists are also working on developing microbatteries and other power sources for these microrobots.

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