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Tiny robotic crab that walks through arteries and unblocks them with life-saving new technology

Smaller than a flea and as wide as a coin, the micro-sized crab could be revolutionary in the world of medicine and industry, according to creators from Northwestern University

A miniature robotic crab smaller than a flea has become the smallest remote-controlled robot ever.
A miniature robotic crab smaller than a flea has become the smallest remote-controlled robot ever.

The world’s smallest remote-controlled robot, smaller than a coin, could become a medical pioneer after being developed by engineers in the US.

Shaped like a mini-crab, with eight legs and pincers, the half-millimeter-wide micromachine could be used in the future to remove tumors or clogged arteries in the human body.

Designed at Northwestern University in Illinois, the record-breaking piece of technology, smaller than a flea, isn’t powered by complex hardware, hydraulics, or electricity, rather its power lies in the elastic elasticity of its body.

The robot can bend, twist, crawl, walk, spin and jump and was made by the same team that built a winged microchip last year.







A single crab robot stands on the edge of a coin
(

Picture:

Northwestern University / SWNS)

“Robotics is an exciting field of research, and the development of microscale robots is a fun topic for academic exploration,” said Professor John A. Rogers, a bioelectronics pioneer who led the experimental work.

“One can think of microrobots as agents to repair or assemble small structures or machines in industry, or as surgical assistants to clear clogged arteries, stop internal bleeding, or eradicate cancerous tumors—all in minimally invasive procedures.”

Professor Yonggang Huang, who led the theoretical work, added: “Our technology enables a variety of controlled movement modalities and can walk at an average speed of half a body length per second.

“This is very difficult to achieve on such a small scale for terrestrial robots.”

To assemble the robot, the researchers used a shape-memory alloy material that transforms to its remembered shape when heated.

Here, the researchers used a scanned laser beam to rapidly heat the robot at different target locations across its body.

A thin glass coating elastically restores this corresponding part of the structure to its deformed shape upon cooling.







Several mini cancer robots, only half a millimeter in size, stand next to each other.
(

Picture:

Northwestern University / SWNS)

“Because these structures are so tiny, the cooling rate is very fast,” added Rogers. “By reducing the size of these robots, they can actually run faster.”

The montage was inspired by a children’s pop-up book, a method that allowed robots to be designed in shapes and sizes, although this particular crab design was developed by Northwestern University students as a “creative whim,” according to Rogers.

One Twitter user thought of another use for these amazing creations, writing: “These would be excellent for spying on people in their homes to collect data so companies could market their products even better!

“Imagine these things crawling into your ears at night to subliminally advertise you in your dreams so that you buy the product when you wake up!”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/tiny-robotic-crab-walk-through-27078401 Tiny robotic crab that walks through arteries and unblocks them with life-saving new technology

Fry Electronics Team

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