We work with robots. More specifically, we deal in servo repair and maintenance for industrial machinery. Even more specifically, we specialize in Indramat motion control systems. But even though we work with robots, there are some robots that are well out of our wheelhouse. Like autonomous nanobots made out of platinum and gold, for example.
Golden robots were once only found in galaxies far, far away, and nanobots were once purely hypothetical, but scientists have developed autonomous nanobots made out of gold and platinum particles. What’s more, these robots don’t require any code or programming. Before your mind starts racing, these robots aren’t walking and talking on a subatomic level, and to call them robots at all might be considered generous to some.
Researchers from University of California at San Diego and University of Pittsburgh teamed up to build these precious metal nanobots. These little nanobots – the researchers refer to them as “nanomotors”, or more accurately, Janus particles – are tiny spheres that are one-half gold, one-half platinum, and thousands of times smaller than a pinhead. The teeny tiny robots carry out their function, which is repairing circuits, completely free of human input, and completely free of programming.
You might be asking yourself, how can a robot do anything without the proper coding? Well these particular nanobots carry out their function based on the laws of nature. The researchers looked at the way certain elements behaved, and learned that they create a desired effect based on the construction of these Janus particles. When these gold and platinum nanobots were combined with a hydrogen peroxide solution, they were able to repair damaged circuitry.
For those who are hard to impress, this might seem like a minor achievement and it’s a stretch to call Janus particles robots. However, researchers believe that these findings could pave the ground work for nanobots that could help increase the lifespan of robotics, and perhaps be used for self-healing products for humans.