The United States Military Research Division DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ) has developed tiny robots that may be used for rescue work and other stuff in the future.
It is called the SHRIMP (SHORT-Range Independent Microrobotic Platforms) robot and it appears primarily to be able to inspect areas and facilities that are too dangerous for humans, for example, due to radiation.
The goal of SHRIMP is to develop and demonstrate multi-functional micro-to-milli robotic platforms for use in natural and critical disaster scenarios. To achieve this mission, SHRIMP will explore fundamental research in actuator materials and mechanisms as well as power storage components, both of which are necessary to create the strength, dexterity, and independence of functional microrobotics platforms.
– DARPA press release.
DARPA will now continue to develop and test SHRIMP and it is not impossible that we will see robots built on this platform in the near future.
“Whether in a natural disaster scenario, a search and rescue mission, a hazardous environment, or other critical relief situation, robots have the potential to provide much needed aide and support,”
“However, there are a number of environments that are inaccessible for larger robotic platforms. Smaller robotics systems could provide significant aide, but shrinking down these platforms requires significant advancement of the underlying technology.”
Dr. Ronald Polcawich, a DARPA program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO).
In addition to advancing the state-of-the-art for actuator technology, SHRIMP seeks to develop highly efficient power storage devices and power conversion circuitry. As such, SHRIMP will explore fundamental research into power converters that can operate at frequencies of tens of Hz with exceptional efficiency as well as high energy density and high specific energy battery technologies.
The SHRIMP robots are part of DARPA’s push to drive forward functional microrobotics that offer unrestricted mobility, dexterity, and maneuverability. They’re set to undergo rigorous “Olympic-style” trials which will scrutinize SHRIMP’s capacity to jump, lift increasingly larger masses, and traverse inclines and measure its overall efficacy. The tests are expected to begin in March 2019. DARPA says it anticipates a total of $32 million to help fund research and development.