Physicists Take First Step Toward Cell-Sized Robots

Cornell University researchers say they have developed a microscale robot exoskeleton that could become a platform for robots the size of biological microorganisms.

Graphene-based bimorphs for micron-sized, autonomous origami machines would be much smaller than the diameter of a human hair but could have significant computing power.

April 9, 2018 | Source: Cornell University,, 2 Jan 2018, Tom Fleischman

An electricity-conducting, environment-sensing, shape-changing machine the size of a human cell? Is that even possible?

Cornell physicists not only say yes, but they’ve actually built the “muscle” for one.

The team has made a robot exoskeleton that can rapidly change its shape upon sensing chemical or thermal changes in its environment. And, they claim, these microscale machines – equipped with electronic, photonic and chemical payloads – could become a powerful platform for robotics at the size scale of biological microorganisms.