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Tiny robot can haul 100 times its own weight

Posted on Sunday, 26 April, 2015 | Comment icon 9 comments

The robots can pull enormous loads. Image Credit: YouTube / Stanford / New Scientist
Engineers at Stanford University have developed a tiny robot with some impressive pulling power.
In the animal kingdom ants are well known for their ability to carry objects exceeding several times their own body weight, but now a group of mechanical engineers from California has managed to put together a robot exhibiting a similarly mighty carrying capacity.

The ultra-strong robot was actually inspired by geckos and uses tiny rubber spikes that help it to grip surfaces. To enable movement the robot shimmies along like an inchworm with one pad staying fixed in place while the other moves forward and vice versa.
The finished product is certainly impressive - weighing just 9 grams the robot is able to haul an object of 1kg up a vertical surface under its own power. A second smaller model weighing 20 milligrams is able to carry more than 500 milligrams up a wall just as effectively.

The engineers were even able to build a 12-gram version of the robot based on the same principles that is capable of hauling an object more than 2,000 times its own weight along a horizontal surface.

Scaled up this feat is the equivalent of a human pulling a blue whale along the ground.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (9)

Tags: Robot

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by bubblykiss on 26 April, 2015, 17:07
What makes that tiny ant-bot think it can move that big banana plant? Alt: Sounds like an expensive and slow way to move sand.
Comment icon #2 Posted by She-ra on 26 April, 2015, 17:08
That's the cutest little robot thing. Reminds me of a little ant when you see them carrying something 15x their size.
Comment icon #3 Posted by ancient astronaut on 26 April, 2015, 17:56
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Rye17 on 26 April, 2015, 20:45
I hope they market this for the everyday Joe... I can't count how many times I've tried to move my blue whale from my pool to the pond.
Comment icon #5 Posted by astralwitch on 27 April, 2015, 2:26
Aww, its so cute.
Comment icon #6 Posted by TripGun on 27 April, 2015, 16:40
Its not what you lift, but how you lift it.
Comment icon #7 Posted by George Ford on 27 April, 2015, 16:51
Now then can it drag a beer out of the fridge for me, then open it and pour it for me?
Comment icon #8 Posted by DieChecker on 27 April, 2015, 20:18
Being trained as a mechanical engineer, I find what these robots are doing to be amazing. Dragging large items up the wall! My thoughts turn to the movie I Robot, where the cars were driving up the outside of buildings.
Comment icon #9 Posted by BeastieRunner on 29 April, 2015, 22:01
This is so cool. I hope they put more development into them so we can et bigger versions.

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