Flying Micro-Robot Has Pincer

A magnetically levitated micro-robot weighing just three hundredths of an ounce can move freely in space. The micro-robot has a laser-activated pincer for grasping tiny objects.


(Flying microrobot magnetically levitated)

The robot is magnetized itself and sits on top of the parabola, supported by the interaction between its own magnetic field and that created by the electromagnets. Altering the flow of current in the electromagnet distorts the field and moves the robot, Khamesee said via e-mail Thursday.

"We develop a focal point of a magnetic field in space, which the micro-robot hangs on," Khamesee said. "By changing the location of the focal point (through current control in several coils), the micro-robot is consequently moved."

The micro-robot has pincers that can be opened by heating them with a laser. When the laser is turned off, the pincers cool and close. Lasers are also used to detect the position of the robot, Khamesee said. "There are three sets of laser sensors for detecting the position of the microrobot in three-dimensional space. The robot is an obstacle for the laser beam in space, and its position can be read."

The robot is monitored by the laser sensors and a camera, which create a feedback loop to a computer. When the robot grasps an object, the magnetic field is automatically adjusted so the robot can maintain its position while supporting the weight of the object.

SF readers may compare this magnetically levitated MEMS micro-robot with the laser-powered "imps" or sub-trees based on the Christmas bush motile robot jointly conceived by Austrian roboticist Has Moravec and science-fiction writer/engineer Robert Forward. Here's an excerpt from Forward's 1985 novel Rocheworld:

The "hands" of the Christmas Bush have capabilities that go way beyond that of the human hand. The Christmas Bush can stick a "hand" inside a delicate piece of equipment, and using its lasers as a light source and its detectors as eyes, rearrange the parts inside for a near instantaneous repair. The Christmas Bush also has the ability to detach portions of itself to make smaller motiles. These can walk up the walls and along the ceilings with the tiny cilia holding onto microscopic cracks in the surface. The smaller twigs on the Christmas Bush are capable of very rapid motion. In free fall, these rapidly beating twigs allow the motile to propel itself through the air.

Update: It occurs to me that this robot is also pretty similar to what Philip K Dick envisioned for his 1960 novel Vulcan's Hammer - the robot tracking device. End update.

The real-life micro-robot could be used inside of small hazardous spaces; it's laser-activate pincer would be ideal for use in bio-hazardous experiments. The research was performed by Professor Mir Behrad Khamesee and graduate students Caglar Elbuken and Mustafa Yavuz in the UK.

From Researchers build 'flying' micro-robot. Thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/13/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but shows real promise.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.' - Philip K. Dick

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'

Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'

Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'

IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'

Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'

Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'

Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'

BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'

IONITY Opens First 10 Fast-Charging Stations
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.