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 'Chemical robots' swarm together

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Date posted: 14/05/2009

In a pair of small laboratories in Prague, a swarm of tens of millions of robots is being prepared, to be set loose en masse.

It is only fitting that here, in the town where the word robot was coined by author Karel Capek, the next generation of robotics should be envisioned.

But these won't be typical robots with gears and motors; they will instead be made of carefully designed chemical shells-within-shells, with receptors on their surface.

Instead of software and processors to guide them, their instructions will be written into the chemistry of their constituent parts. They are chemical robots, or as the 1.6m euro project's title has it, chobots.

In fact, notes Frantisek Stepanek of Prague's Institute of Chemical Technology, they are more like the robots described by Capek himself, formed of "...a blob of some kind of colloidal jelly that not even a dog would eat".

See the full Story via external site: news.bbc.co.uk



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