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Forget Boston Dynamics’ Robot Dogs: Purdue’s Microbots Are the Real Nightmare

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In contrast to the BigDogs, Purdue’s “microscale magnetic tumbling robots,” or microTUMs, are extremely small, measuring about 400 by 800 microns—about the size of a grain of sand. Shaped like dumbbells, the tiny machines are outfitted with magnetic end caps, enabling them to “tumble” continuously over a variety of terrains, powered by a shifting magnetic field.


So in case you were wondering what’s more frightening than large robots that open doors, the answer is microbots that can tumble under them in swarms. Wherever you are, these little bots will be able to squeeze past most any barrier and traverse most any landscape to reach you (and yes, there is a Black Mirror episode for that variety of nightmare too).




Your hackles might be raised even further once you learn that this Purdue study, led by graduate student Chenghao Bi and published in the journal Micromachines, proposes injecting these microTUMs into the human body.



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