A new generation of micro machines have recently begun tugging random objects around Stanford’s Biometrics Lab. Putting insects to shame the latest micro tugs, or Tuggers, are able to pull over 2000 times their own weight. Equivalent to a human dragging a Blue Whale down the beach.
Weighing only 12 grams Tugger is lifting well above his own weight but that’s not all for this micro machine. Tugger can also drive forward, turn left or right and when he wants to get to work pulling on things he plants his foot down and winches away. The secret though is less in the winch than it is in the foot.
Inspired by a Gecko’s microscopic hairs the Tuggers’s foot is covered in synthetic rubber hairs with a forward tilt. Once load is applied in the opposite direction to the hairs the foots incredible grip kicks in, going against the grain is the Gecko’s secret it seems.
The Stanford engineers haven’t limited themselves to tugging either, other forms of locomotion have been tested including a set of four vibrating feet that can drag objects about with an odd smile inducing shuffle.
Presented for your viewing pleasure are the latest videos of Tugger in action demonstrating his extreme pulling power, anywhere that a coffee is just out of reach Tugger comes to the rescue. Sit back relax and prepare to be fascinated, and a little amused.
Reference: Stanford University – MicroTugs