Electronic devices are getting smaller and smaller and human workers and conventional robots are finding it increasingly difficult to assemble them. Peter Will of the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) of the University of Southern California and his collaborators at the California Institute of Technology have designed microrobots modelled on hairlike cilia, the transport fibres of bacteria. Will's team has made arrays of several hundred microrobots each of which has a hairlike arm capable of whipping in one direction only. These arms, at present, are capable of transporting chips in a 2.5 micrometre range. "They are also working on programmable arrays so they can change the direction in which they propel the cargo. Will eventually will try to build intelligent microrobots by connecting each to a photocell. "This will enable the robots to recognise parts and determine whether they are correctly positioned," he says.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.