A tiny robot that could one day help doctors perform surgery was inspired by the incredible gripping ability of geckos and the efficient locomotion of inchworms.
The new robot, developed by engineers at the University of Waterloo, utilizes ultraviolet (UV) light and magnetic force to move on any surface, even up walls and across ceilings.
It is the first soft robot of its kind that doesn't require connection to an external power supply, enabling remote operation and versatility for potential applications such as assisting surgeons and searching otherwise inaccessible places.
“This work is the first time a holistic soft robot has climbed on inverted surfaces, advancing state-of-the-art soft robotics innovation,” said Dr. Boxin Zhao, a professor of chemical engineering. “We are optimistic about its potential, with much more development, in several different fields.”