Oct 2, 2022

Smart microrobots walk autonomously

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, sustainability

A collaborative effort has succeeded in upgrading solar-powered microbots – each of which now has their own built-in, miniature computer – allowing them to walk autonomously and without being externally controlled.

Cornell researchers and others had previously developed microscopic machines able to crawl, swim, walk, and fold themselves up. However, these always had “strings” attached; to generate motion, they needed wires to provide electrical current, or laser beams focused directly onto specific parts of robots.

“Before, we literally had to manipulate these ‘strings’ in order to get any kind of response from the robot,” explained Itai Cohen, Professor at Cornell’s Department of Physics. “But now that we have these brains on board, it’s like taking the strings off the marionette. It’s like when Pinocchio gains consciousness.”

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