Tiny Robot Bugs in Development for Medical Relief
When doctors can't easily reach someone — whether it's in a war zone or a natural disaster — robot bugs are being designed to come to the rescue. That's because the same things that make some insects such invasive pests — like their tiny size and resistance to harsh environments — may make them ideal medical providers when doctors can't easily get to patients. Engineers have built prototype robotic bugs designed to mimic insect movements so they can get into tight spaces and survive where living creatures might not. These creepy-crawlies were built using artificial muscle technology, a process that allows the robots to flex, bend, and move by jumping across surfaces the way many insects do.
@sudeshna What the engineering team came up with is a curved shape that allows the bugs to store energy to fuel rapid movements. This allows the robots to function with only a few volts of electricity. The team published results from early tests of their prototype robotic bugs in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies. At this stage, their main success is that they've worked out a way for the cricket-size robots to move with speed and precision using artificial muscle, a technology that typically moves more like a tortoise than a hare. Versatile movements and a lightweight structure should let these robots travel a wide range of terrain, whether it's shifting sand dunes, rocky cliffs, or choppy waters, the engineers say.