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Robotics Technology

Dancing Micro-Robots Waltz on a Pin's Head 89

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i-have-several-pin-heads-to-donate-to-testing dept.
coondoggie writes to mention that Duke University researchers have created micro-robots and made them dance to their tune. With dimensions measured in microns, these tiny bots were made to waltz to the music of Strauss on the head of a pin just one millimeter across. "In another sequence, the devices pivot in a precise fashion whenever their boom-like steering arms are drawn down to the surface by an electric charge. This response resembles the way dirt bikers turn by extending a boot heel, researchers said. The researchers said they have also been able to get five of the devices to group-maneuver in cooperation under the same control system.Known as microelectromechanical system (MEMS) microrobots, the devices are of suitable scale for Lilliputian tasks such as moving around the interiors of laboratories-on-a-chip."
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Dancing Micro-Robots Waltz on a Pin's Head

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  • by ciaran.mchale (1018214) on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:06PM (#23631503) Homepage
    The researchers just have to call these micro robots "angels". That then will finally answer the age-old question [wikipedia.org].
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      Ahhh...

      But do they want my red shoes?

      Oh, I used to be disgusted
      And now I try to be amused
      But since their wings have got rusted
      You know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes
      But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain
      That's when I knew that I could not refuse
      And I won't get any older, 'cause the angels wanna wear my red shoes
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blue l0g1c (1007517)
      Ah, but how many pins can you fit on the head of an angel?

      Maybe Hellraiser was a fallen angel?

      This is totally getting modded off-topic. :/
    • by msauve (701917)
      One only needs to change the question to: "How many angles can dance on the head of a pin?"
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Zack: How many more of you people are coming here?
      Byron: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? That question baffled religious thinkers for centuries, until someone finally hit upon the answer: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? As many as want to. How many of my brother and sister telepaths are coming? As many as want to.
    • Religion can ask about Gods and Angels. And science can make the angels. And if you're unlucky, Gods too...
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:08PM (#23631525)
    They're too small, relative to the wavelength, to hear. So how can they be dancing to it ?
  • Grey goo.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by onion2k (203094) on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:08PM (#23631531) Homepage
    So when the grey goo comes I'll finally be able to get a dance partner? Woo!

    I wonder if it puts out on the first date..
    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      I wonder if it puts out on the first date..

      I think so, but when it whispers in your ear "Would you like to become one with me?" realize that it is talking in a much more literal sense than what you may have been expecting.
    • by n3tcat (664243)
      But what if it just wants to "be friends"?
  • So how many micro robots can dance on the head of a pin?
  • technically (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bornyesterday (888994) on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:15PM (#23631619) Homepage
    They simply twirled to the music. Waltzing is has a 1-2-3-pause beat pattern. Just because they danced TO a waltz does not mean that they waltzed.
    • by Gat0r30y (957941)

      microrobots advance in steps only 10 to 20 billionths of a meter each, but repeated as often as 20,000 times a second.
      A 20kHz Dance beat! damn thats fast
    • As long as they don't start doing the chicken dance, I'm happy.
  • by heroine (1220) on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:17PM (#23631633) Homepage
    The blogger keeps referring to dancing robots, links to a home video of an amateur recital of something, links to some robot videos from years ago, but nothing here showing robots dancing a waltz on a pin's head.

  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:19PM (#23631657)
    Now we have micron sized robots. Just last week we had announcement of a robotic arm within spitting distance of human dexterity. We have airplane-converts to car almost here for the consumer. An electric car that can get as much mileage as a gas car and still do freeway speeds (Tesla Roadster). We've got plugin hybrids within a year or two at most hitting the high end consumer market (commercial plugins), that will drop gas consumption at large scales.

    We live in exciting times.

    • I should note that though a LOT of the things I'm talking about above are prohibitively expensive for most people, the very fact that they are coming to market at ALL is just cool.
      • We also have an increasingly panopticon society processed with facial recognition datamined by an increasingly fascistic corporate controlled world government. Welcome to the new milennium - exciting times indeed.

        I've heard a quote attributed to the ancient chinese: "May you live in interesting times". This was described as a curse.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bloodninja (1291306)

      We live in exciting times.
      So did the residents of Nagasaki.
      • by zaxus (105404)

        We live in exciting times.
        So did the residents of Nagasaki.
        Gems like this are what keep me reading Slashdot. You owe me a new keyboard. :-)
  • Just imagine it now, a lighted up microelectrode array with thousands of these things on it dancing to music, making trippy patterns of light on the walls. They'll probably show up at raves a couple years from now.
    • by radarsat1 (786772)

      They'll probably show up at raves a couple years from now.
      .. or might have, had rave not died circa 1996. ;-)
      • by kaen (38872)
        LOL, depends where you live. I think the peak of the rave scene was about 2000 where I live. After that it was mostly a heat score. Still some very underground parties from what I hear.
  • How many? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Cycon (11899)
    So now we finally know how many micro robots can dance on the head of a pin.

    Take that, Aquinas [wikipedia.org].

  • by brunokummel (664267) on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:28PM (#23631763) Journal
    Too bad the little fellas couldn't actually "hear" the music...since the frequency we are able to hear would sound much more like a huge roar than music
    ....I guess they probably just were trying to run for cover from the thunderstorm... Can you imagine the damage a single drop of rain can make on a microrobot?

    Those scientists are just a bunch of insensitive clods.
    • by Fumus (1258966)

      Can you imagine the damage a single drop of rain can make on a microrobot?

      None at all? It probably works the same way as ants aren't killed by drops of water. Nor by falling from a high building.
  • I, for one, (Score:2, Redundant)

    by oodaloop (1229816)
    welcome our...pin-waltzing...micro-robot...ah, forget it.
  • Where's the story? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AlgorithMan (937244) on Monday June 02, 2008 @06:16PM (#23632217) Homepage
    Maybe I'm just too tired, but I only find sketches and texts via that link... no video, not even a single photo... I have seen nothing there that gives any indication that these robots actually exist

    so now "stuff that matters" includes people saying they did something?
  • .

    (lameness filter)
  • When will it be ported to DDR?
    Get on with your lives, nothing to see here!
  • Fuck me.

    I was sitting here the other week thinking to my self that I was glad that the scientific community was doing all it could to advance our lifespans, save the bananas and the bees, fix the climate and make the Earth a better place.

    Now I find that they are making dancing robots. Dancing fucking robots. Bloody hell, what a simply splendid use of their budget that is.

    Please tell me that this will, in some small fashion, benefit mankind as a whole or I might have to be rather depressed.

    Hrrrmp
  • by rakzor (1198165)
    Better hope it doesn't fall off the pin head.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_many_angels_can_stand_on_the_head_of_a_pin%3F [wikipedia.org]
    But I guess the first poster already pointed that one out.

    I am just wondering what the heck is the point of this, these are not robots, are not dancing and are not on a pin. Or am I missing something here.

    Just some schmuck trying to grab headlines with a cute press release and succeeded, my goodness even Slashdot fell for it.

    I'd bet it will be all over the new on TV tonight though, worse yet my parent are going to be thinking of t
  • Dancing with the Micro-Robots
  • This response resembles the way dirt bikers turn by extending a boot heel, researchers said.
    IANADB (I am not a dirt biker), but the ones I've seen in action extend the entire boot, to say nothing of the foot and leg. Microscopic dancing robots are great and all, but I'm much more intrigued by the cool Transformers footwear that the researchers mentioned so casually in passing.
  • With dimensions measured in microns, these tiny bots were made to waltz to the music of Strauss on the head of a pin just one millimeter across.
    Maybe even a Beowulf cluster of these dancing on the head of a pin-striped suit dweller?
  • In another sequence, the devices pivot in a precise fashion whenever their boom-like steering arms are drawn down to the surface by an electric charge. This response resembles the way dirt bikers turn by extending a boot heel, researchers said.

    Dirt bikers use their feet much as others bikers use their (slider protected) knees: for stabilisation & not as a point around which they pivot or to brake one side to change direction. This so called "resemblance" is entirely misleading.

  • Waltz is for spaceships!

    Polka, on the other hand... Yes, THAT polka [leekspin.com].
    • Waltz is for spaceships!
      I guess you're referring to 2001 A Space Odyssey, whose theme is "The Blue Danube," which is a Strauss waltz. I followed the link on the article to see if that's the one they used but it isn't. They used "The Voice of Spring."
  • Not only do I have to be afraid of spiders laying eggs on my brain, now I have to worry about robots taking over my skull.
  • or it didn't happen.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern

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