Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed tiny robots that they say could potentially unlock new locomotion techniques and new ways of developing robots. The results of their research were recently published in the journal Science Robotics.
Called smart active particles (or “smarticles”), the small robots can't do much right now – they just flap their arms. But when these robots are joined in a group they can move as one unit. That unit can then also integrate a sensor to respond to sound or light or be controlled well enough to navigate a maze. And while these robots are pretty simple by any definition, Georgia tech says further research could lead to small robots that can move and change shape in such a way as to provide the building blocks for more complex machines.
“These are very rudimentary robots whose behavior is dominated by mechanics and the laws of physics,” Dan Goldman, a Dunn Family Professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said.