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Can a robot run on alcohol?

Answer: Yes.

by News Staff / September 8, 2020
Shutterstock/photocritical

Just don’t ask it to take a breathalyzer test.

A team at the University of Southern California has designed a miniscule robot with a unique power source. Rather than trying to attach it to a miniature battery, they went with a simpler solution. This little guy runs on a “catalytic artificial micro-suede" powered by heat. This heat comes from the combustion reaction of liquid methanol (a non-drinking type of alcohol) stored inside the body of the robot.

The RoBeetle, as it’s called, weighs just 88 milligrams, but it can carry up to two and a half times its own weight. The robot was designed to get into places humans can’t — teeny tiny ones, to be exact.

 

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