Magnetically Actuated Micro-Robots for Smart Manufacturing of Macro-Scale Products

Researchers at SRI International, a nonprofit independent research center, are developing new technology as part of DARPA's Open Manufacturing Program to reliably control thousands of micro-robots for smart manufacturing of macro-scale products in compact, integrated systems. The micro-robots are controlled by magnetic fields generated by a printed circuit board substrate and their maximum speed so far has been 35 cm/s. They can climb up walls or travel on flex circuits in any orientation. SRI researchers envision enabling an assembly head containing thousands of micro-robots to manufacture high-quality macro-scale products while providing millimeter-scale structural control.