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Autonomous, Wireless Robots Could Dance on a Human Hair

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The Antbots incorporate a photovoltaic cell to accept light as power, a tiny integrated circuit for controlling and directing that power, and a set of hinged legs to scoot itself around.

Credit: Reynolds et al/Cornell University

Cornell University researchers have created wireless robots small enough to sit on a human hair that operate autonomously, using light as a power source.

The Antbots combine a photovoltaic cell, an integrated circuit for controlling and directing power, and hinged legs to provide locomotion.

The researchers manufactured the Antbots' integrated circuits using a 180-nanometer silicon fabrication process.

They said said the Antbots could be employed for environmental cleanup and monitoring, targeted drug delivery, cellular monitoring or stimulation, or microscopic surgery.

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