Like robots? Like to drink alcohol? We might have something for you.
Meet the RoBeetle. It’s a tiny beetle like robot that runs on alcohol. Developed at the University of Southern California, the RoBeetle can move across different surfaces and carry up to 2.6 times its own body weight.
The robot is powered by methanol instead of batteries, freeing it from tethered power sources. Its muscle is a nickel-titanium alloy wire covered in a platinum powder that catalyzes the combustion of methanol vapor into heat, The wire contracts from the heat and then extends again after the methanol fuel is gone, mimicking the contraction of biological muscles.
Robot Beetle Could Be Used in Disaster Relief
RoBeetle only travels at about 0.05 body lengths per second. According to Xiufeng Yang, who worked on the project, they are looking into other chemicals such as propane which could make the robot go even faster.
The scientists feel that something like the RoBeetle could be used in small spaces to do things like inspecting infrastructure, assist in disaster relief, or drop pollen on flowers. Yang and team are also working on creating a robotic butterfly.