Scientists at Cornell University have created a tiny micro-robot that “walks” using four legs. Invisible to the naked eye, 10 of the computer chip bots could fit within the full stop at the end of this sentence.
Their legs can be independently triggered to bend using laser light. By toggling the laser back and forth between the front and back legs, the robot walks.
It would take less than a week to make a swarm of a million robots, which Itai Cohen and Paul McEuen Labs hope could be adapted to become a medical tool. They are small enough to be injected into the body and Prof Cohen hopes that eventually robots like these could be designed to hunt down and destroy cancer cells.
(Image: Microbot, Credit: Marc Miskin / Itai Cohen and Paul McEuen Labs / Cornell University, USA.)
Video by Jennifer Green, interview by Ania Lichtarowicz and Gareth Mitchell.
Hear Prof Cohen’s full interview on BBC Digital Planet.