Researchers at Stanford University have created tiny robots that are able to work in a synchronized form to pull a much larger object. A team of six of the tiny robots that weight a total of 3.5 ounces were able to pull a car that weighs in at 3,900 pounds. The idea is rather like the swarms of nanorobots that were featured in the animated film “Big Hero 6”.
The synchronized robots work in conjunction and apply small forces smoothly to deliver an overall powerful effect. Graduate student David Christensen is one of the authors of the paper on the robots called microTug robots. The scientist claims that the team of six robots moving the car is equivalent to a team of six humans moving the Eiffel Tower and three Statues of Liberty.
Part of what allows the tiny bots to move such a large object is a special adhesive that was inspired by the toes of geckos. Lots of research has been put into creating an artificial form of gecko toes because the ability to create such strong adhesion that can be removed and reapplied as needed would be beneficial in many tasks. Some of the robots seen in the videos are children’s toy available commercially.
The microTug robots are the ones seen with the wheels on the front. Seeing the tiny robots pulling the massive car is an impressive feat. The bots doesn’t seem to have trouble pulling the car at all, it moves in unison with the robots as they drag it being them attached by some sort of line or cable coming out of the rear of the microTug robots. The video below shows the team of robots pulling the car.