The company SRI International, which is located in Silicon Valley, is working on a project of magnetic miniature robots that can act both individually and jointly. They are able to perform a fairly large range of actions, plus they can form complex structures, both macro and micro. It all depends on the size of the systems themselves. The company's developers say that such robots can be printed using a special 3D printer, which will become something like the queen of an anthill, and will stamp hundreds and thousands of robots, which will immediately be sent to perform certain tasks.
Of course, these structures are unable to "think", everything is controlled by a computer. Magnetic ants are moving with the help of a magnetic field. Sets the motion control software. If desired, you can make it so that each robot in the team will perform a specific task. Or the whole team can do the same thing.
> SRI researchers are working in this direction
with the participation of the DARPA Open Manufacturing team, which has proposed a number of proprietary technologies for the implementation of a common project. After a number of improvements, a “colony” can create not only simple things, but also the most complex ones. Of course, the project is still at an early stage, but the results are already impressive - at least how quickly these robots are moving.
Such magnetic nanorobots differ from ordinary autonomous systems, they can be used in many situations. The only requirement is, of course, the presence of a magnetic field. The project team says that ants are universal. Perhaps in the near future, their work will be managed by a neural network, if desired, this can be done.
And yes, these microstructures can work in water - there is no problem with this. The software adapts their movements to the modified environment.
The dimensions of the robots can be changed
- they can be made very small. SRI representatives recently published a paper that shows the possibility of manipulating the actions of nanorobots at the micro level. For example, several such structures caught a separate yeast cell and transferred to a given location.
Micro robots can be used in a number of areas of science and technology. You can imagine their work in the human body, when several miniature bots are engaged in the destruction of the tumor. You can even recall the Google project to create magnetic nanorobots launched into the human body, where they are controlled by changing the configuration of the magnetic field. Or in electronics, when similar structures build a complex system where micromanipulations are necessary.
Anyway, microrobots are a very promising area. There is almost no doubt that over time such systems will become more and more complex and functional.