These micro-robots have high hopes. Six of them, weighing just 3.5 ounces each, were able to team up and pull a 3,900-lb car.
Micro-Tug robots from the Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory at Stanford University demonstrate not only what tiny robots are capable of doing, but also act as a mechanical model for ant behavior.
Micro Factory Employs Tiny Robots
It turns out that when trying to move objects much larger than themselves, ants get great cooperative force by using three of their six legs simultaneously, reports John Markoff.
Taking that as inspiration, the Stanford team programmed their Micro-Tug robots to synchronize their steps and only use some of their legs at a time -- instead of all at once. Each little step has just a tiny bit of force, but when the steps work in concert, overlapping with the steps of other micro-bots, they're able to move mountains.
Tiny Robot Pulls Objects 2,000 Times Its Size
The video below shows the six robots pulling the car, a feat equivalent to six humans pulling the Eiffel Tower and three Statues of Liberty Stanford team member David Christensen told the New York Times.
Pretty amazing. Next up: rubber tree plant.