As often happens in science and technology, researchers at Standford University have observed the natural strength of ants and turned that nature into a man-made power. Ants can carry many multiples of their body weight and now we know there’s a way robots can do the same. A team of 6 super strong microTug microrobots that weigh just 100 grams are teamed together to created an amazing force, capable of pulling a full sized car and driver.
The amazing part about this research is that they tried different types of robot multiplication including speed, but found the gains achieved by adding more robots can often have only slight impacts on the overall output. After a series of experiments, the researches found the best robots teams are use a winching gate that provides a steady and fairly slow, but incredibly powerful result for their size.
The microbots also use another cue from the animal kingdom for their ability to stick to the floor and achieve traction when needed. They’re each fitted with feet that work much like the feet of a gecko, which can be engaged to provide more adhesion when required, like climbing upside down for example. When it comes to the microbots, they attach themselves to the floor (polished concrete) and then use the winching mechanism to apply the force and move the car.
While the video doesn’t go on to mention what possible real-life applications this technology could have, its easy enough to imagine a robot that attaches itself to high-rise windows to wash them, or to hold humans safely below. There’s also plenty of possibilities where constrained spaces means even humans aren’t a viable option to move heavy objects.
There is no doubt we’ll only continue to see more and more applications for where robots can assist in our industrial, commercial and even residential lives.
Via The Next Web