Robotics researchers have come up with some remarkable things, like this self-steering drone. Now a group from Stanford University has created 1-inch microbots, called μTugs (pronounced “micro-Tugs”) that can move some really big things.

The researchers started by creating a gripping foot that acts like a gecko’s toes. That gives the ‘bot the traction it needs to really tug. A set of wheels lets it move forward between pulls. It may be slow, but it steadily moves objects weighing up to 2,000 times more than itself.

Climbing robots can scale a vertical surface while pulling up to 100 times their own weight. That’s like a person scaling a building with an elephant in tow!

Watch the ‘bots in action:

Did you know? Geckos can climb straight up smooth surfaces without slipping!

Want to know more? Check out my story on the microbots for Science News for Students.

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