A bunch of students at Stanford University have come up with a miniature type of robot that’s so strong it can haul nearly 2,000 times its own weight. It uses “gecko” feet to accomplish the feat, and it has the potential to revolutionize industry.
Created by Ph. D students David Christensen and Elliot Hawkes (and originally introduced at the TED Conference in Vancouver a little while ago), the zealous bots use cilia-covered feed that strongly adhere to any surface, enabling the minute machine to concentrate the entire strength of its motors on pulling (rather than stability, or its own body weight).
The MicroTugs, as they’re affectionately called by their creators, vary in weight depending on the model. Some of the stronger ones weigh 9 and 12 grams respectively. The latter can pull in excess of 21 kilograms (46.3 pounds).
Christensen already has his eye on the future. The researchers are now focused on making these adorable hard workers work in teams in order to move about even heavier objects. An even greater goal they hope to achieve is to scale up the technology to enable the sprightly contraptions to carry even heavier goods. A human-sized version would be able to tug around 200 tonnes. This thing could forever change the manufacturing industry, especially when it comes to building cars, planes, boats, etc. Watch the brawny gizmos in action below.