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"Swarms of Solar Microbots May Revolutionize Data Gathering"

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posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 08:25 AM
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Researchers are developing ways to mass-produce tiny robots the size of a fly that operate like swarms of insects to collect data to aid in surveillance, micromanufacturing, medicine, and more. Measuring in at under 4 mm square, the microbots have all the equipment necessary to move, communicate, and collect data, plus they generate all of their own power via solar panels.


A very cool technology. I would be surprised if this is the first of its kind but regardless this is cool; swarms of solar powered robots.



These mini-robots are quite revolutionary, considering that they contain all that’s necessary to collect data and relay it back using one single circuit board. In the past single-chip robots have presented significant design and manufacturing challenges due in part to the use of solder as an adhesive. These new microbots use conductive adhesive to attach the components to a double-sided flexible printed circuit board using surface mount technology. The circuit is then folded into thirds and wrapped around the ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit).

On top, a solar cell generates power for the robot and delivers 3.6 V to the unit, which is enough for it to walk. Locomotion is achieved via three vibrating legs, while a fourth horizontal vibrating leg is used as a touch sensor. While a single microbot isn’t much use by itself, a large group of these mini-devices can establish swarm intelligence to generate more complex behavior. Computers receiving the data from all these swarming devices can then create a more realistic and complex picture. The project is based on the concept of I-SWARM (intelligent small-world autonomous robots for micro-manipulation), and was inspired by the behavior of insects.


I wounder how efficient the vibrating legs actually are? This reminds me of many a crappy toy iI had as a kid hat used this same technology only to spin in very disappointing circles on the floor in front of me. I also question how effective solar panels will be on these little guys.

Still I suppose we have to start somewhere and I am sure they could have done worse in this case. enjoy.




posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:18 AM
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You ever read Pray by John Grisham? You should.


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