Bigger doesn’t always mean stronger.
Scientists from Stanford University’s Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Laboratory have created tiny robots — microrobots — that can pull significantly more than their own weight.
The microrobots weigh just 100 grams and can move objects that are more than 2,000 times their own weight. They can do this by using a special adhesive similar to the toes of geckos.
Inspired by nature’s own heavy-lifters — ants — the team of researchers decided to see if getting a group of robots to work together would increase their pulling capacity.
We know that ants are incredibly strong. Recent research found they can lift 5,000 times their own weight. And a recent video illustrated how they can work in tandem to get a particularly large object (food) to their colony.
WATCH: Blue ants drag giant millipede with daisy chains in Cambodia
Most microrobots either run or walk and aren’t very good at pulling heavy objects. But these researchers decided to use a different approach. The robots use three of their six special gecko-like legs at the same time and pull an object slowly. It was so effective that just six of them were able to pull an 1,800 kg car on a polished cement floor.
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