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Photos: New microbot can levitate, pick up tiny objects

Nanobot developed by researchers at University of Waterloo, Ontario, can "fly" using magnetic levitation.

CNET Reviews staff

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1 of 3 University of Waterloo, Ontario

Microbot

Researchers at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, in a quest to design systems that can position microscopic objects with high precision, have developed a robot that uses magnetic levitation technology to achieve micromanipulation. The system consists of two units--the magnetic drive mechanism and the flying microbot, seen here on a Canadian penny.

See the microbot in action in the next photo.

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2 of 3 University of Waterloo, Ontario

Laser beams are used to control the microgrippers

The magnetic drive mechanism controls the external magnetic field using continuous feedback from position sensors. The microbot is built from permanent magnets attached to microgrippers, circled in the image. External laser beams are used to control the microgrippers, and because all of the power is supplied externally, these nanobots are smaller and more nimble than previous nanotechnology.
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3 of 3 University of Waterloo, Ontario

Flying microbots have many advantages over robots which walk, crawl or swim

Flying microbots have many advantages over robots that walk, crawl, or swim. Their hovering abilities allow the microbots to operate in a variety of environments with varied, complex terrain. Systems like this may one day move out of the lab and into real-world environments where they might be used for microassembly of mechanical components and manipulation of biological samples.

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