At the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois researchers have come up with tiny robots that can make forms that help them shift objects four times their size. The half millimeter wide robots called "asters" assemble themselves from free floating particles animated by magnetic fields.
The "asters" were designed by Alexey Snezkho and Igor Aronson at Argonne National Laboratory.
Alexey Snezhko said that they could make them open their jaws and close them giving them the opportunity to use these creatures as mini-robots performing useful tasks.
As per the Department of Energy the technology is said to bridge a gap between the manipulation of objects that exists between laser-powered tweezers and mechanical micromanipulators. The robots could pick up and move objects without damaging them. This was not possible with mechanical micromanipulators.
An additional aspect that was an improvement over previous systems is that the robots could repair themselves. If a part was lost in transit the robot would reorganize themselves and go on with the task. Snezhko said that it was exciting to discover something with new functions even if they a bit spoiled now, because they had discovered several structures before.