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:
- New fossils indicate Tyrannosaurus Rex's started small and then grew smart.
- How modern chickens help us better understand dinosaurs.
- "Mr. President" and "First Lady" just had a baby... a baby bald eagle that is. [VIDEO]
- Sea World just announced an end to its orca breeding program.
- Neuroscientists at UCLA are investigating how humans might be wired for altruism.
- What happens in your brain during the "doorway effect" - forgetting why you went into a room in the first place.
- MIT scientists find hints that memories lost due to Alzheimers might not be gone forever.
- Chemists at CalTech are attempting to create silicon-based life.
- Great radiation primer on the difference between harmless electromagnetic radiation and harmful ionizing radiation. [VIDEO]
- Can you teach a computer to forget?
- How would you react to this robotic trash can?
- NASA's New Horizons team just dropped some serious Pluto science bombs.
Keep on geeking!
@Summer_Ash, In-house Astrophysicist