Terminator rests: elastic robot crab easily passes through the eye of a needle

Tiny, only 0.5 mm, the crab robot is controlled by lasers – they want to use it in microsurgery or repair equipment. This baby works like a children’s flip book

Engineers have developed the world’s tiniest remote-controlled walking robot that mimics a mini crab. This toddler walks sideways without any wires, hydraulics, electricity or other standard mechanical components.

We also wrote that Mriya will return – the world’s largest cargo Ukrainian aircraft will be rebuilt. The robotic crabs, which are only one fiftieth of an inch (0.5 millimeters) wide, can also bend, squirm, turn and even jump.

Walking robots are usually mechanically constructed with many moving parts powered by an electrical source. However, these new eight-legged robots have a much more simplified design, consisting of just a few excellent materials that can be manipulated with lasers.

The crustacean-like robots are made from a stretchy “memory foam” alloy that transforms into its three-dimensional form, like a children’s pop-up book: the crab-shaped two-dimensional outline of the alloy is attached to a stretched rubber pad at the front of the robot.

As the substrate relaxes and the surface area decreases, the material is pushed up into the desired three-dimensional crab shape. When a 3D alloy is heated by a laser, it tries to return to its original flat 2D shape. However, before the alloy can flatten completely, it quickly cools down and reverts back to its three-dimensional crab shape.

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It is this rapid change in shape that gives the robot movement. In addition to looking adorable, these little machines can also do useful work.

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