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Making Stuff Smaller: A look at high-powered nano-circuits and micro-robots

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Making Stuff Smaller: A look at high-powered nano-circuits and micro-robots

Making Stuff Smaller: A look at high-powered nano-circuits and micro-robots

S38E10 Making Stuff Smaller

Invisibility cloaks. Spider silk that is stronger than steel. Plastics made of sugar that dissolve in landfills. Self-healing military vehicles. Smart pills and micro-robots that zap diseases. Clothes that monitor your mood. What will the future bring, and what will it be made of? In NOVA's four-hour series, Making Stuff, popular technology columnist David Pogue takes viewers on a fun-filled tour of the material world we live in, and the one that may lie ahead. Get a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smaller, cleaner, and smarter than anything we've ever seen.
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10 Incredible Micro-Robots

Here are the 10 greatest micro-robots.

Engineers and programmers are constantly at work dreaming up and creating tiny robots. Some emerge as incredibly useful tools, while others exist only as grand ideas.

Either way, here are 10 of the greatest micro-robots.

Number 10. Kilobot. Hundreds, even thousands, of machines working together as one is a great idea, especially when they’re able to organize and arrange themselves. Swarm technology has proven difficult to perfect due to cost, so this group of minis was created on the cheap for testing purposes.

Number 9. Magnetically actuated mini-robots. They’re made to built stuff, including other robots. Even more impressive is that they could perform that task in space, as their movements aren’t dependent upon gravity. The little bots are guided by magnets, which gives them greater dexterity and flexibility.

Number 8. Micro-scallops. These itsy-bitsy swimmers are designed to navigate the body’s various liquids like blood and eyeball gunk. Aquatic skills aren’t typically high the list of robot skills, but thanks to the unique nature of bodily fluids, these little guys may someday be able to deliver medications to exactly where they’re needed.

Number 7. Micro-bees. With populations of honeybees plummeting, scientists are looking for alternative means of pollinating crops. Conservation efforts for the real ones are underway, but in the event the problem is unfixable, researchers expect to be able to get the robotic version up and flying in about 10 years.

Number 6. Flapping robot. Many insects are great flyers, but their complex movements are hard to replicate. Jellyfish, on the other hand, are simple creatures. By mimicking their movements, researchers were able to make a stable machine that can take to the air unburdened by tricky mechanics.

Number 5. Bridge inspectors. Humans do what they can, but in a lot of cases they’re just too big to really get a good look in nooks, crannies, and crevasses. Enter the quarter-sized machine that can access tight spots and easily travel over bolts and rivets, even when it’s raining.

Number 4. The Mab. The Jetson’s had their faithful robot Rosie, but people of the future may be turning to the cleaning skills of Mab instead. The design competition winner deploys an army of scrubbers and dusters to make a home sparkly and fresh.

Number 3. miBots. Microscopes are wonderful for inspecting things invisible to the naked eye, but they’re useless when it comes to moving the matter around. That’s where this little device comes in handy. Between its joystick control and small probe, it gets the tiny but tough job done.

Number 2. Mini-printer. Printers take up a lot of valuable desktop real estate, but there is a smaller solution. About the size of a coffee cup, this inkjet produces words and images by travelling back and forth across a piece of paper.

Number 1. DNA nanobots. If genetic material is sequenced just right, it can create a microscopic structure capable of following a prescribed path and delivering a destination-specific payload. Hopes for the development are high, as someday they could be useful in seeking and destroying cancer cells without damaging healthy ones nearby.

Which micro-robot do you think is the most amazing?

NOVA | Making Stuff Smarter

Premieres Wednesday, February 9 at 9PM ET/PT on PBS.
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Making Stuff Smaller Clip03

Making Stuff Stronger (a Documentary)

David Pogue tests his mettle against the worlds strongest stuff, from steel and Kevlar to bioengineered silk.



Making Stuff Smaller: A look at high-powered nano-circuits and micro-robots.
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NOVA | Making Stuff Stronger

David Pogue hosts a four-part special series exploring the materials that will shape our future. Airing Aug. 21 and Aug. 28, 2013 on PBS

PBS NOVA S38E10 Making Stuff Smaller

Making stuff colder

CAN ROBOTICS CURE AGING? : SRMRs, SWARMBOTS, AND MICROBOTS

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S38E11 Making Stuff Cleaner

Originally aired 01.19.11

Program Description
Invisibility cloaks. Spider silk that is stronger than steel. Plastics made of sugar that dissolve in landfills. Self-healing military vehicles. Smart pills and micro-robots that zap diseases. Clothes that monitor your mood. What will the future bring, and what will it be made of? In NOVA's four-hour series, Making Stuff, popular technology columnist David Pogue takes viewers on a fun-filled tour of the material world we live in, and the one that may lie ahead. Get a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smaller, cleaner, and smarter than anything we've ever seen.

PBS Documentary | NOVA - Making Stuff Smarter

National Geographic Documentary 2016 | Nova Making Stuff: Smarter - Space Documentary 2016.

Welcome channel. Special Thanks.

Compared to the largest things in the universe galaxies are trifles compared to super clusters, voids, lyman alpha blobs, and the cosmic web. But even among .

Universe or Multiverse ? NOVA Space Documentary. Alien Earths Documentary Films : At The Edge of Space . Cosmic Monsters Documentary. National .
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Making Stuff: Colder | NOVA

Host David Pogue asks if cold holds the key to technology that can improve our lives.

Airing December 17, 2014 at 10 pm on PBS

Original Air Date: 10/30/13

PBS NOVA S38E12 Making Stuff Smarter

6 Microrobots Move A Car 18,000 Times Their Weight - BTF

Behold The Future...
6 microrobots move a car 18,000 times their weight. We don’t want to alarm you, but researchers appear to have come a step closer to helping robots one day take over the world.

Inspired by insects and lizards, researchers at Stanford University, California have designed a tiny robot capable of shifting weights many times its size, either working solo in in groups. The “microTug” robots use a special adhesive inspired by gecko toes to move objects over 2,000 times their weight. If this level of power was ever used against mankind, we might be in deep trouble.

When the robots team up, their strength is significantly multiplied. Despite six robots weighing 3.5 ounces (100g) in total, linked together they can pull a car weighing 3,900lb (1,800kg).

For perspective, that’s the equivalent of six humans managing to move the Eiffel Tower and three Statues of Liberty, Stanford University graduate researcher David Christensen told the New York Times.

In a Stanford newsletter piece outlining the project, Christensen explained that ground reaction forces are key in the experiment, and noted that the team hopes their work can be applied to emergency rescue operations.

“We want to build microrobots that can not only explore a disaster site in a search and rescue mission, but pull the survivors to safety when they are found,” he wrote.



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Let's all Pull Together: Team of µTug Microrobots Pulls a Car

Not only are ants impressively strong, they are also amazing team players. This research inspired by such teamwork examples how the ways that microrobots move effects their ability to work in teams. With careful consideration to robot gait, we demonstrate a team of 6 super strong microTug microrobots ( weighing 100 grams pulling the author's unmodified 3900lb (1800kg) car on polished concrete.

Based on research published in Robotics and Automation Letters and to be presented at ICRA 2016 found here:


Ant chain pulling millipede video reproduced with gracious permission from Stéphane De Greef. Original found at:


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µTug: Micro robot pulls 2000 times its weight on glass.
A 12 gram micro tug robot moves objects 2000 times its size on glass (steel objects without wheels or lubrication) enabled by gecko adhesives. This capability is comparable to a human dragging a blue whale. Even if the human was strong enough, their shoes would just slip making this impossible without this micro robot's special gecko inspired shoes.

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HD PBS / NOVA - Making Stuff Wilder

Host David Pogue explores cutting-edge technology and inventions, including underwater Wi-Fi, military robotics and usage of bacteria and DNA.

NOVA | Making More Stuff Sneak Peek | PBS

Airing Oct. 16, 23, and 30 and Nov. 6, 2013 at 9 pm on PBS

In this four-part special, New York Times technology correspondent and best-selling author David Pogue takes a wild ride through the cutting-edge science that is powering a next wave of technological innovation. Pogue meets the scientists and engineers who are plunging to the bottom of the temperature scale, finding design inspiration in nature, and breaking every speed limit to make tomorrow's stuff Faster, Wilder, Colder, and Safer.

NOVA | Making Stuff Stronger | PBS

Watch the full episode at
Materials have defined many eras of humankind including the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age, as well as recent periods dominated by plastics and silicon, and more. Now, our world is poised on the edge of a revolution in the science of materials. MAKING STUFF, a 4-part NOVA series, reveals materials pushed to the extreme, then takes viewers on a nano-journey inside to reveal how atoms themselves can be manipulated. The results will change the future of medicine, computers, energy, and more: The stuff that makes this material world turn.

NOVA | Making Stuff | Interview with host David Pogue | PBS

Invisibility cloaks. Spider silk that is stronger than steel. Plastics made of sugar that dissolve in landfills. Self-healing military vehicles. Smart pills and micro-robots that zap diseases. Clothes that monitor your mood. What will the future bring, and what will it be made of? In NOVA's fascinating new four-hour series, Making Stuff, popular New York Times technology reporter David Pogue takes viewers on a thrilling tour of the material world we live in, and the one that may lie ahead—offering viewers a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations that are ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smaller, smarter, and cleaner than anything we've ever seen. Wednesdays starting January 19, 2011 only on NOVA.

PBS Nova S38E12 Making Stuff Smarter

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