Researchers at Stanford University have created micro-sized robots, called MicroTugs, that can pull 2,000 times their weight.
“A 12-gram micro robot uses controllable adhesive (like ants use) to pull 2,000 times its weight,” the MicroTugs website says. “This is the equivalent of a human adult dragging a blue whale around on land.”
Another MicroTug, which weighs nine grams, can carry more than a kilogram while climbing vertically on glass. The researchers say “this is equivalent to a human climbing up a skyscraper while carrying an elephant.”
Watch the video below, it’s quite impressive. The researchers will explore how to make a number of MicroTugs work together to carry heavier items and how to scale the technology up to larger robots to carry very heavy goods.
Some of the potential applications, the researchers say, include military, emergency situations, and hauling heavy equipment. New Scientist cites one example of a MicroTug carrying a ladder to a person trapped in a burning building.