|Graphene-glass bimorphs can be used to fabricate numerous micron-scale 3-D structures.|
Topics: Biophysics, Chemistry Nanotechnology, Robotics
A team of physicists from Cornell University in the US has developed electricity-conducting, environment-sensing, shape-changing robots the size of a human cell.
The robots – described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – are made from atomically thin layers of graphene and glass. Known as biomorphs, the tiny machines bend when exposed to stimuli including heat, chemical reactions or electricity. They can transform in a fraction of a second from two dimensional planes into complex three-dimensional forms such as tetrahedra and cubes.
Team member Paul McEuen says the biomorphs are designed as carriers for even smaller, but potentially very powerful, bits of photonic, electronic or chemical kit.
“We are trying to build what you might call an 'exoskeleton' for electronics,” he says. “Right now, you can make little computer chips that do a lot of information-processing, but they don't know how to move or cause something to bend.”
Super-strong cell-size origami robots are coming, Andrew Masterson, Cosmos Magazine