Scientists from Stanford have developed a series of super-small, super-strong robots — including this one, that can haul up to 24kg, despite weighing less than 15g. That’s like you pulling a blue whale.
The adhesives are covered in minute rubber spikes that grip firmly onto the wall as the robot climbs. When pressure is applied, the spikes bend, increasing their surface area and thus their stickiness. When the robot picks its foot back up, the spikes straighten out again and detach easily.
The results include a 9g robot that cal pull over 900g as it climbs walls and a tiny 20mg bot — put together under a microscope — that can carry 500mg. The researchers reckon robots like these could be scaled up and used in the future to haul heavy loads around factories and building site. [New Scientist]