National

At Duke, micro-robots dance on the head of a pin

Gas prices have auto manufacturers rushing to make cars smaller, but Bruce Donald drives vehicles so tiny you need a microscope just to see one.

Donald and his team of Duke University computer scientists have constructed a fleet of fully steerable microrobots small enough to move around on the head of a pin. Robots this small could some day explore brain tissue or manipulate delicate electronics.

The robots are about 250 microns long and 60 microns across. They are thinner than the width of a human hair, and you could line two of them end to end inside the period at the end of this sentence.

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