The unique ability of ants to move objects that are many times greater than their own weight is well known. A team of researchers from Stanford University is exploring the use of friction by the example of tiny robots. Together with the interaction with the surface they are able to move the load thousands of times their own weight.
In fact, the coupling of six robots is an antiautomatic winch, creating an effort of 200 N. Evaluating the results of the experiment, one of its participants, Associate Professor David Christensen said:
“Considering the work of the whole group, and not only of its individual participant, we will be able to create a team of our microbugs working on the principle of ants. As is known, every ant has a giant power, and when ants unite, their possibilities increase many times. “
A reliable adhesion to the surface was provided with a special sticky adhesive. Its prototype was a substance that stands out on the legs of a gecko when it moves along smooth vertical surfaces. The glue is a combination of silicone, plastic, carbon nanotubes and a number of other components. And to simulate gecko hairs, scientists have made microclines based on silicon.
After that, everything was “packed” into 24 “soles”, consisting of hundreds of thousands of microclines. The “soles” were connected to springs and then attached to a plate of 8-carbon form. Their adhesion force on an area of only 1 square. mm is equal to the corresponding index of the human palm.
If in the process of moving from the surface one “sole” is torn off, then the weight is automatically transferred and distributed evenly among all the others.