While the robots imagined in science fiction novels have often looked like humans, today’s robotic armies are emerging in all shapes and sizes.
Take the little army of bots made by SRI International, called “Magnetically Actuated Micro-Robots,” that are designed to build small things on small scales. They look like a swarm of ants, and they can be controlled by a central computer.
The bots are incredibly fast for their size, able to move at 35 centimeters a second, according to a video posted by SRI. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, wrote that this is the equivalent speed of a human “running at slightly under Mach 1.” Not bad for something smaller than a pea.
The bots are also very agile, able to weave in and out of tiny objects and capable of climbing up or down walls. They can even travel on flexible circuits in any direction.
SRI says that the technology behind the bots can be used to “reliably control thousands of micro-robots for smart manufacturing of macro-scale products in compact, integrated systems.”