Researchers like to borrow ideas and concepts from biology. Inspired by nature, a team of mechanical engineers from the Stanford University Robotics Lab in California has built small, super-strong robots. Weighing between 20 milligrams and 12 grams, they can carry up to 2000 times their own weight.
The Stanford technology derives from the gecko’s anatomy. This tropical lizard is known for its exceptional climbing ability thanks to its adhesive feet. The Stanford engineers therefore equipped the bots’ paws with rubber crampons that grip the wall as they climb.
They also drew inspiration from the inchworm. Like their natural counterpart, the bots consist of several segments. Only one carries the load, while the others keep moving, dragging the body along.
These powerful “workers” could find their way into warehouses and onto construction sites. Stanford researchers are currently working on bigger bots with more hauling capacity.