Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany have released information about a robot so small that if you didn’t know it was there you could miss it. Measuring in at just four millimetres long and made of a soft elastic polymer the robot is intended to work in medicine.
The institute uses natural inspiration to design systems to use in a multitude of fields and for this particular project their inspiration was a number of very small, soft organisms that can move about in very complex environments; which is what you would find in the human body. Using external magnetic power means the robot could be incredibly small and still perform complex action and have numerous uses.
Nature-inspired soft millirobot makes its way through enclosed spaces
The scientists are still in the testing phase of the project, moving on to animal testing before they begin human trials, which they expect will take at least 10 years before it sees real clinical use.
If you want to know more you can read about it in the journal Nature; though fair warning – it gets rather technical.
Image from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems