We at DFC are suckers for small robots that do cool things, but that we could still totally overwhelm if they suddenly gained sentience and joined the uprising against humanity that is surely coming.
New to that long list is this cool innovation from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems: a millimetre-scale robot made of a strip of elastic and magnets, which boasts a wide variety of locomotive options. According to its creators, it can:
“swim inside and on the surface of liquids, climb liquid menisci, roll and walk on solid surfaces, jump over obstacles, and crawl within narrow tunnels. These robots can transit reversibly between different liquid and solid terrains, as well as switch between locomotive modes. They can additionally execute pick-and-place and cargo-release tasks.”
The robot, which looks like a small tab of black rubber, does all of this in response to its operator controlling the levels of magnetism in different parts of its body. (Check out a detailed video of it in action here!) In addition to being rad, this little bot and its flexibility has the exciting prospect of being deployed for medical uses (like targeted drug delivery) inside the human body. I for one welcome our new tiny robot doctors!