Mini robots move full-sized car
A group of six small robots called Microtugs managed to pull a full-sized car!
The robots weigh just 100 grams but the car weighed nearly 1,800 kg! They move like ants, very steadily, causing an extremely powerful force, but, individually, not enough to pull a car. Although they move like ants, they are around twice as strong, managing to pull up to 2,000 times their own mass.
The robots were developed at Stanford University, USA. Six of them combined can pull over 3,000 times their combined mass. (This is the equivalent of a human pulling a blue whale!)
“The hardest part in the development of these guys was coming to the realisation that this was possible,” the developer, Mr Christensen, told the BBC.
The robot’s feet are covered in rubber pads so that it can stick slightly to the surface. These pads also allow it to bend the shape of its feet to the contours of the floor, meaning a Microtug can successfully walk down a steep hill.
“The next step,” Christensen adds, “would be about looking at ways to make multiples of them work together as a team, and scaling the technology up to larger bots with more industrial parts and a whole lot more force.”
At the university, they are trying to develop a similar technique that could allow a human being to climb a wall without any climbing equipment!
These amazing machines were first exhibited at last May’s International Conference on Robotics and Automation hosted in Seattle.
Charlie, Year 5