Date
16 October 2018
The cell-sized, self-powered robot, measuring about 100 micrometers in diameter, can be suspended indefinitely in a liquid or in the air. Photo: MIT News
The cell-sized, self-powered robot, measuring about 100 micrometers in diameter, can be suspended indefinitely in a liquid or in the air. Photo: MIT News

MIT builds tiny robots to monitor environment, diagnose patients

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed robots the size of a human egg cell that can gather environmental data, store the information in a memory bank and undertake computational tasks, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The robots comprise microscopic electronic circuits made of two-dimensional materials combined with minute particles called colloids. The size of a colloid is between a millionth and a billionth of a meter.

Colloids can be “suspended indefinitely in a liquid or even in air”, according to an MIT press release.

The robots require no external power source or an internal battery. All they need is a photodiode that can supply electricity to their computation and memory circuits.

The robots can have various uses, such as recording the condition of pipelines in the oil and gas industry. They can also be used for medical diagnosis, e.g., to look for signs of inflammation or diseases in the human digestive tract.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 25

Translation by Jonathan Chong

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/CG

A diagram shows the design of the tiny robots created by MIT researchers. Photo: MIT News


Hong Kong Economic Journal

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