Engineers have created the world’s smallest and creepiest remote control robot.
If you’re a bit woozy around insects and fearful of the impending rise of our robotic overlords, then these fellas certainly won’t be up to your liking.
The tiny crab-looking robotic device is the size of a ballpoint pen tip. But if you put an army of these things together, you can probably say goodbye to the human race.
According to Yahoo News, engineers from Northwestern University created the crab robots in order to carry out intricate tasks that humans couldn’t do.
They’re just half a millimetre wide, which is nuts to think about, and they can bend, twist, crawl and even jump - honestly, horrifying.
Can certainly see these popping up in a few prank videos in a few years' time.
John A. Rogers, professor of materials science and engineering, biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at Northwestern, said: “You might imagine micro-robots as agents to repair or assemble small structures or machines in industry or as surgical assistants to clear clogged arteries, to stop internal bleeding or to eliminate cancerous tumours — all in minimally invasive procedures.”
Imagine having one of these guys crawling around inside you.
Northwestern University Professor, Yonggang Huang added: “Our technology enables a variety of controlled motion modalities and can walk with an average speed of half its body length per second.
"This is very challenging to achieve at such small scales for terrestrial robots.”
They’re made of shape-memory alloy, which means researchers can heat them to teach the robots to carry out different movements.
They don’t use electricity or any other hardware to move, and instead, have ‘elastic resilience’ similar to that of a pop-up book that enables them to move.
The researchers use a laser to heat up the robot's limbs, with the warmed-up limb determining the direction in which it travels.
So if the robot’s left legs are heated up it will travel to the right until the legs cool down and move back into their original position.
Pretty neat stuff, albeit creepy at the same time.
However, apparently, the researchers were really trying to maximise the creep factor, before settling on the least terrifying of all the options.
The engineers experimented with millimetre-sized robotic inchworms, crickets, and beetles.
Alright, I’m glad they settled with crabs.
Featured Image Credit: Northwestern University.
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