I won't be satisfied with the robotics industry until I can send a swarm of nanobots to devour my enemies and turn them into fashionable singlets. While science plugs away at that problem, cool droids like the milliDelta from Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) will have to do. The robot is around 15mm², but can move with a degree of speed and precision that blows the pants off everything that's come before it.
The milliDelta's composite laminate structure, embedded flexural joints and piezoelectric actuators allow it to fold at "millimetre-scale" and move at frequencies up to 75Hz.
According to Hayley McClintock, a staff researcher at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, this is "15 to 20 times higher than those of other currently available Delta robots".
As mentioned, the robot is tiny, measuring 15mm x 15mm x 20mm — that's about the size of a standard six-sided die.
Uses for such a machine a many — microsurgery, cell manipulation and even as a "hand tremor-cancelling device", as SEAS' Fatma Zeynep Temel explains:
"We first mapped the paths that the tip of a toothpick circumscribed when held by an individual, computed those, and fed them into the milliDelta robot, which was able to match and cancel them out."
Here's the milliDelta in action.
Fast? You bet your, er... sleeveless shirt made of deconstructed human!