Formicidae seen at La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica
Geoff Gallice

Week in Geek - Microrobot edition

You’re probably familiar with the already amazing fact of how most ants can move hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of times their body weight, but would you believe they could even move a car? Okay, so maybe *actual* ants can’t pull a car, but these microrobots based on ants can… and did!

Researchers at Stanford University’s Biomimetrics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory use biomimicry to design microrobots with the abilities of insects and reptiles known to have unique capacities for motion and manipulation of objects. For this project, they focused on the lifting capacity of ants and the traction ability of geckos. And rather than focusing on designing one large robot for a large task, they instead concentrated on how multiple smaller robots might work in concert to accomplish something similar.

As a result, the team designed six microrobots, each weighing 3.5 ounces, that were able to function together to pull a 3,900 pound car. For real. While the video below is actually sped up over 20 times, the contrast of the size of the robots with their power as a team is astounding.

Here’s some more geek from the week:

Keep on geeking!

@Summer_Ash, In-house Astrophysicist