Sep 1, 2022

A tiny, magnetically actuated gearbox that gives microrobots more power

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, working with a pair of colleagues from the Harbin Institute of Technology, has developed a tiny actuated gearbox that can be used to give very tiny robots more power. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the group describes how their gearbox works and the power improvements observed in several types of tiny robots.

Over the past several years, scientists have been working toward the development of tiny robots that can be injected into the to carry out medical procedures. The hope is that such robots can be sent to find and destroy , for example. Such tiny robots are too small to carry their own power plant; thus, they must be manipulated using an . Unfortunately, as the robots grow ever tinier, their power diminishes as they have too little mass. In this new effort, the researchers have found a way to increase the power of the tiny robots using a tiny gearbox that helps them become stronger.

The gearbox comes with a magnet on its end to harness the power in a magnetic field via the gears in the box. And the gearbox is able to magnify the power of a using clever features including elastic components and mechanical linkages.

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