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Smaller than a flea: Northwestern engineers create the world’s smallest remote-controlled walking robots

  • Engineers at Northwestern University developed the world’s smallest remote-controlled, walking robots.
  • The robots, which are about half a millimeter wide each, are made out of a malleable shape-memory alloy that can be deformed and returned to their original shape using heat.
  • The crab robot was developed out of some students’ fascination with the sideways motion of crabs.
  • Applying heat to specific joints of the crab robot makes it twist, turn or jump, depending on the sequence of heat application.
  • John A. Rogers, a professor in the university’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, said that while the robots are currently in the early stages of development, the technology behind them offers significant potential.

Engineers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, have developed the tiniest remote-controlled, walking robot in the world. 

The robots, which are about half a millimeter wide each, are made out of a malleable shape-memory alloy that can be deformed and returned to its original shape using heat, according to the report published Wednesday in Science Robotics.