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Microscopic robots with onboard digital control

Cornell Affiliated Author(s)


M.F. Reynolds
A.J. Cortese
Q. Liu
Z. Zheng
W. Wang
S.L. Norris
S. Lee
M.Z. Miskin
A.C. Molnar
Itai Cohen
P.L. McEuen


Autonomous robots-systems where mechanical actuators are guided through a series of states by information processing units to perform a predesigned function-are expected to revolutionize everything from health care to transportation. Microscopic robots are poised for a similar revolution in fields from medicine to environmental remediation. A key hurdle to developing these microscopic robots is the integration of information systems, particularly electronics fabricated at commercial foundries, with microactuators. Here, we develop such an integration process and build microscopic robots controlled by onboard complementary metal oxide semiconductor electronics. The resulting autonomous, untethered robots are 100 to 250 micrometers in size, are powered by light, and walk at speeds greater than 10 micrometers per second. In addition, we demonstrate a microscopic robot that can respond to an optical command. This work paves theway for ubiquitous autonomous microscopic robots that perform complex functions, respond to their environments, and communicate with the outside world. © 2022 The Authors.

Date Published


Science Robotics








Group (Lab)

Itai Cohen Group
Paul McEuen Group

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