Apr 20, 2014

Magnetic Micro Robots By DARPA

Darpa's open manufacturing program just unveiled their latest in electromagnetically actuated robotics, and as usual we can't help but wonder what other applications these robots will inevitably be used for in the long run. Mainly centered around a factory of micro robots used to build trusses (A certain structure that can withstand strain), this latest video shows off just how fast and incredibly coordinated these micro-robot systems are, capable of executing movements of up to 35cm/s at a max of 1,386 movements per second, traveling up walls and unorthodox surfaces and coordinating with other robots to perform relatively complex tasks.

The end goal for these micro robotics systems involves them being able to built more complex tech with integrated circuitry, and eventually using ant like colonies of these robots to carry out construction and manufacturing projects. We also could see these micro robots outfitted with surveillance equipment to be used for recon, and let's not forget the potential for sabotaging hardware and infrastructure.

We had to.
Imagine being able to harness the power of an army of ants to assemble large-scale products quickly and precisely from heterogeneous materials in today’s manufacturing environments. SRI’s patented Diamagnetic Micro Manipulation (DM3) technology uses printed circuit boards (PCBs) to drive and control micro-robots built from simple, low-cost magnets that are propelled electromagnetically. This could enable cost-effective production of large numbers of micro-robots that can reliably handle a wide variety of solid and liquid materials—including electronics.

Our vision is to enable an assembly head containing thousands of micro-robots to manufacture high-quality macro-scale products while providing millimeter-scale structural control. For example, some micro-robots will carry components (electronic as well as mechanical, such as truss elements), some micro-robots will deposit liquids, and others will perform in quality analysis. Mounted to a mobile robotic base, a micro-factory will be able to build parts of practically any size.

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