27 January 2010

Microid Robots Meant to Act in Colony Swarms

The world belongs to the very small -- insects, microbes, molecules . . . It is past time that humans learned to use the power of "small squared" in the real world. Lots and lots of very small agents working together to manipulate real world objects. The possibilities are endless.
"The microids would be able to walk, run, jump, and pick up and move objects many times their own weight," Clark said. "A microid can also do what no insect or other microrobot can do, which is continue walking if flipped on its back. Who knows, maybe flight is next."

He also envisions the possibility of hordes of microids working in unison and communicating with each other to perform a complex task.

"You can't underestimate the power of having thousands of microids working together, much like ant colonies," he said.

The microids could be mass-produced using manufacturing technologies that are common to the semiconductor industry.

Purdue has filed a patent application on the concept.

The microids are designed to have the "tripod gait" for walking used by most insects - only three of six legs are on the ground at a time - which enables bugs to remain stable while traversing uneven terrain.

Each leg or mandible comprises a bundled triad of slender beams made of piezoelectric material, which generates electricity when compressed. This feature could enable the microids to harvest energy by taking advantage of vibration in the environment to recharge. _Physorg

Imagine planting and harvesting many acres of food crops and biomass crops using self-powered micro- and nano- robots. Powered by vibrational energy, solar energy, from heat or chemicals in the environment . . . Imagine using such robots to assemble homes and meeting places.

The military, espionage, and sabotage applications should be obvious without dwelling on them. Al Fin Futurologists take note of the negative applications, but prefer to spend most of their time developing positive uses for new technologies.

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Blogger Loren said...

Nano scale like this is probably going to approach the scale of macro scale for most purposes.

Keep the tractor--it'll be a while before grey goo becomes practical for most tasks.

Wednesday, 27 January, 2010  

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