Engineers have created a tiny robot that can crawl and grab objects. This was reported by the University of Waterloo, and a scientific article describing the invention was published in Cell Reports Physical Science.
The creators claim that this is the first of its kind soft robot that does not require connection to an external power source, which provides mobility and versatility of use. The device, called GeiwBot, is 4 centimeters long, three millimeters wide and one millimeter thick. In terms of size and proportions, the robot resembles a worm, but it moves more like a caterpillar.
The robot is made of liquid crystal elastomers that react to light. It is the energy of light that makes the “worm” bend and sets it in motion. At the ends of the “body” there are grasping pads, which are activated by a powerful magnet. Thus, the robot is able to move and crawl on walls and ceilings without batteries.
The authors hope that such robots will be useful in surgery for operations inside the human body, as well as for the study of hard-to-reach places.