[extropy-chat] Microrobot

Daniel Assange d.assange at ugrad.unimelb.edu.au
Tue Oct 11 14:14:53 UTC 2005

New Scientist also has an article on this, and links a site
containing AVIs.


-- Daniel Assange <d.assange at ugrad.unimelb.edu.au>
   "The way to enlightenment is not to admit that
    you know nothing, but to admit that you
    can never know enough."

On Tue, 11 Oct 2005, Olga Bourlin wrote:

> From: "Henrique Moraes Machado" <hemm at openlink.com.br>
> > Hello,
> >
> > Can you copy the text? NY Times requires registration to read
> >> http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/11/science/11FIND.html
> Here you go ...
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> October 11, 2005
> At Dartmouth, a Remote-Controlled Robot
> For a steerable piece of dust, look somewhere at Dartmouth College.
> Researchers there have built what they say is the world's smallest 
> untethered, controllable robot. When placed on a penny, it looks like a mole 
> on the side of Lincoln's chin, measuring a hundredth of an inch by one 
> four-hundredth of an inch.
> A traffic jam of 200 of them would stretch the length of an M&M.
> The robot contains no motors or circuitry. Rather, it is a carefully carved 
> piece of silicon that moves across a special surface that contains an 
> embedded electrical grid. The main rectangular piece has one edge bent 
> downward; from the side, it looks like an L that has toppled forward.
> "You can think of it as a business card with a fold at the end," said Bruce 
> R. Donald, a professor of computer science and leader of the research team.
> When an electrical voltage is applied, the silicon buckles, and the long leg 
> of the L is pulled down against the surface. When an opposite voltage is 
> applied, the silicon rectangle pops back and pushes the robot forward. "It 
> crawls along like an inchworm," Dr. Donald said.
> An article describing the microrobot will appear in The Journal of 
> Microelectromechanical Systems. At top speed, the robot zooms around at 
> nearly a hundredth of an inch a second.
> To turn the robot, a stronger voltage pulse lowers an arm extending off one 
> side of the rectangle. At the end of the arm is what looks like a tiny 
> lollipop with a pointy thorn at the center. The lollipop snags the surface, 
> and the robot runs in circles around it. Another pulse lifts the arm, and 
> the robot heads straight again.
> Dr. Donald said more sophisticated versions of such robots might one day be 
> used to inspect or fix chips or interact with individual cells.
> Robots of different shapes could snap together to build larger structures, 
> he said.
>   a.. Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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