This Teensy Robot Has Spider-Man Levels of Strength
Admit it. As a child, you shot invisible webs, crawled up make-believe walls, and soared through an imaginary New York City leaving strands of spider yarn everywhere. Who didn’t? While a real-life Spider-Man may not exist, scientists at Stanford University are replicating his super strength on a teeny tiny scale. Meet their micro tugs - tiny pulling machines capable of moving up to 2,000 times their weight on surfaces like glass, a feat the researchers liken to a human pulling an entire blue whale. In the video below, a 12 gram micro tug pulls a 600 gram cup of coffee, or 50 times its mass. And it only gets better. RELATED: This cute robot hitchhiked its way across the USA and Canada
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The same 12-gram micro tug robot then graduated to pulling 4.2 kg, or 350 times its body weight, and then even shifted a 21 kg weight (48 pounds), a scarcely believable 1800 times its body weight.
There’s no magnetism or trickery going on, just simple adhesion. The tug robots cling to surfaces using an adhesion method similar to that seen in geckos. Tiny rubber hairs cover the robot’s underbelly, and when force is applied the adhesive surface area increases, allowing for incredible gripping power. As soon as the robot lifts its body once again, the adhesion is broken. It can then slide forward, grip like a tick, and begin heaving on an object once again.
It’s not what you’d call fast, but it is effective. According to the researchers, the tiny robot’s adhesives could handle nearly double that 21kg figure, but it’s the robot’s pulling motors that need to be stronger to handle that weight.
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