TED talk

Robots the size of a grain of rice \ by Sarah Bergbreiter


Sarah and her students work on very tiny robots. Now, you can think of these as robotic versions of something that you're all very familiar with: an ant. We all know that ants and other insects at this size scale can do some pretty incredible things.

Sarah Bergbreiter ==================================>>

But what are the real challenges of engineering these ants?

Well, first, how do they get the capabilities of an ant in a robot at the same size scale? Well, first they need to figure out how to make them move when they're so small.


They need mechanisms like legs and efficient motors in order to support that locomotion, and they need the sensors, power and control in order to pull everything together in a semi-intelligent ant robot. Finally, to make these things functional, they want all of them working together in order to do bigger things.


Insects move around amazingly well. For example - cockroaches can walk over incredibly rough terrain without tipping over, and they are able to do this because their legs are a combination of rigid materials and soft materials.

Jumping is another really interesting way to get around when you're very small. These insects store energy in a spring and release that really quickly to get the high power they need to jump out of water, for example.


But what can these tiny robots do?

I think you can imagine all the cool things that we could do with robots that can run and crawl and jump and roll at this size scale.
Imagine the rubble that you get after a natural disaster like an earthquake. Imagine these small robots running through that rubble to look for survivors. Or imagine a lot of small robots running around a bridge in order to inspect it and make sure it's safe.
As fast as their tiny 'bot' legs will carry them! - Science Nation

For summary,

I think I've given you some of the possibilities of what we can do with these small robots. And we've made some advances so far, but there's still a long way to go.

The End!