A million functional microscopic robots produced from a 4-inch silicon wafer in new nanofabrication process developed by engineers at the University of Pennsylvania
Researchers have harnessed the latest nanofabrication techniques to create bug-shaped robots that are wirelessly powered, able to walk, able to survive harsh environments and tiny enough to be injected through an ordinary hypodermic needle.
“When I was a kid, I remember looking in a microscope, and seeing all this crazy stuff going on. Now we’re building stuff that’s active at that size. We don’t just have to watch this world. You can actually play in it,” said Marc Miskin, who developed the nanofabrication techniques with his colleagues professors Itai Cohen and Paul McEuen and researcher Alejandro Cortese at Cornell University while Miskin was a postdoc in the laboratory for atomic and solid state physics there. In January, he became an assistant professor of electrical and systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
Miskin will present his microscopic robot research on this week at the American Physical Society March Meeting in Boston. He will also participate in a press conference describing the work. Information for logging on to watch and ask questions remotely is included at the end of this news release.
Origins of the Micro Robots
Over the course of the past several years, Miskin and research colleagues developed a multistep nanofabrication technique that turns a 4-inch specialized silicon wafer into a million microscopic robots in just weeks. Each 70 micron long (about the width of a very thin human hair), the robots’ bodies are formed from a superthin rectangular skeleton of glass topped with a thin layer of silicon into which the researchers etch its electronics control components and either two or four silicon solar cells — the rudimentary equivalent of a brain and organs.
“The really high-level explanation of how we make them is we’re taking technology developed by the semiconductor industry and using it to make tiny robots,” said Miskin.
Each of a robot’s four legs is formed from a bilayer of platinum and titanium (or alternately, graphene). The platinum is applied using atomic layer deposition. “It’s like painting with atoms,” said Miskin. The platinum-titanium layer is then cut into each robot’s four 100-atom-thick legs.
“The legs are super strong,” he said. “Each robot carries a body that’s 1,000 times thicker and weighs roughly 8,000 times more than each leg.”
The researchers shine a laser on one of a robot’s solar cells to power it. This causes the platinum in the leg to expand, while the titanium remains rigid in turn, causing the limb to bend. The robot’s gait is generated because each solar cell causes the alternate contraction or relaxing of the front or back legs.
The researchers first saw a robot’s leg move several days before Christmas 2017. “The leg just twitched a bit,” recalled Miskin. “But it was the first proof of concept — this is going to work!”
Teams at Cornell and Pennsylvania are now at work on smart versions of the robots with on-board sensors, clocks and controllers.
The current laser power source would limit the robot’s control to a fingernail-width into tissue. So Miskin is thinking about new energy sources, including ultrasound and magnetic fields, that would enable these robots to make incredible journeys in the human body for missions such as drug delivery or mapping the brain.
“We found out you can inject them using a syringe and they survive — they’re still intact and functional — which is pretty cool,” he said.
The Latest on: Microscopic robots
via Google News
The Latest on: Microscopic robots
- These scientists say they’ve created the world’s first 'living robots' that can reproduceon December 2, 2021 at 10:51 am
Last year, researchers made "living robots" by incubating stem cells from frog embryos. Now they’ve discovered that they're able to self-replicate.
- Scientists Unveiled the World’s First Living Robots Last Year. Now, They Can Reproduceon December 2, 2021 at 9:16 am
Early last year, a team of researchers announced the world's first living machines —bundles of stem cells from African clawed frogs ( Xenopus laevis) that could be programmed to accomplish certain ...
- First 'living robots' can self-replicate just by moving around, revolutionary study findson December 2, 2021 at 3:12 am
These robots — xenobots, said to be the first living robots — spontaneously replicate just by moving, according to revolutionary new research. This kinematic self-replication, as the American ...
- Scientists create the first living robots that can reproduceon December 1, 2021 at 2:44 pm
According to a CNN article citing a scientific study, after constructing the world's first living robots, US-based scientists have discovered that they can now reproduce in a way that is unlike any ...
- OK, what’s up with these self-replicating ‘living robots’?on December 1, 2021 at 9:25 am
Whether or not they are truly ‘living robots’ is certainly up for debate – I find roboticists are comfortable with this categorisation, while biologists are skeptical. What we build in the lab is ...
- World's first 'living robots' start to reproduceon November 30, 2021 at 3:02 pm
Scientists say breakthrough using microscopic animal-machine hybrids could lead to self-replicating technology ...
- These living robots made of frog cells can now reproduce, study sayson November 30, 2021 at 2:51 pm
The "xenobots" could already move around, display collective behavior and heal themselves. Research released Monday suggests that the cell clumps can also be engineered to sustain themselves for at ...
- Tech: SALT grain-sized camera can take crisp, full-colour images like 'lenses 500,000 times larger'on November 30, 2021 at 6:45 am
The ultra-compact optical device was developed by a team of researchers from Princeton University and the University of Washington.
- The first 'living robots' that can REPRODUCE: Microscopic organisms made from frog cells assemble 'babies' in their Pac Man-shaped mouths – in breakthrough that could one day ...on November 30, 2021 at 2:39 am
The tiny 'living machines' aren't traditional robots, nor a species of animal, but living, programmable organisms. They were created by Tufts University and University of Vermont scientists.
- Mobile molecular robots swim in water (w/video)on November 28, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Researchers have developed synthesized microrobots that are capable of converting their mechanical motion into a means of self-propulsion in water.
via Bing News