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Robots smaller than the eye can see could revolutionise micro-robotics

Building robots at the micron scale is tricky, particularly when it comes to designing small-scale ‘actuators’ – the motors that allow robots to move. Conventional actuators don’t work at such a small scale, and new actuators that do work use mechanisms like magnetism and are difficult to integrate with traditional silicon-based micro-electronics.

Now a team of researchers have developed a new type of actuator that operates electronically and that can be layered directly onto the circuit that controls it. This opens the doors for the last 50 years of micro-electronics research to be incorporated into robots so small they can’t be seen by the human eye.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-02486-z

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