Is this a good or a bad thing?

I think it is, but Ann Althouse has doubts. World’s first flying micro-robot is born:

TORONTO: Canadian researchers have developed the world’s first flying micro-robot that can manipulate objects, particularly during surgeries, for micro-scale applications.

The invention provides researchers with more control over micro-scale manipulation, allowing them to move and place tiny objects with far greater precision, said Waterloo University- where an engineering research team developed the device.

In a statement Wednesday, it said the tiny new gravity-defying device can manipulate tiny objects at levels that are too small to be manipulated by humans.

Called the flying MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) robot, the device defies the force of gravity by flying or levitating, powered by a magnetic field.

It moves around and manipulates objects with magnets attached to micro-grippers, remotely controlled by a laser-focusing beam, the university statement said.

The tiny device’s micro-manipulation will be useful in micro-assembly of mechanical components, handling of biological samples and even micro-surgery, it added.

“We have developed a magnetically levitated micro-robot, which is a new technology for manipulation using flying micro-robots,” said Behrad Khamesee, research leader and professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, who is skilled in developing micro-scale devices using magnetic levitation.

I tend to be a little too enthusiastic about tech that appears to be leading to the kind of singularity described here. But a dream I had last night – about assassins beaming hypochondriacal delusions into my head via subdermal implanted chip, in an attempt to get me to the hospital to bump me off – might be a sign that I have some subconscious doubts.

Or it could be a side-effect of the malaria medicine I just took…?


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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4 Responses to Is this a good or a bad thing?

  1. Infidel753 says:

    Good thing.

    Imagine a swarm of these, suitably modified, infiltrating the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran, entering critical pieces of equipment and, by carefully-programmed intervention, rendering them irreparably useless.

    It beats dropping a ground-penetrating tactical nuclear bomb on the place and possibly contaminating nearby populated areas, which is what we (or the Israelis) will otherwise need to do.

  2. marypmadigan says:

    True, that would be a good thing.

    Speaking of defense applications for new technologies, I wonder if this laser gun:

    LONDON, England — Scientists in the U.S. are developing a laser gun that could kill millions of mosquitoes in minutes.
    The WHO has reported that around half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria.

    The laser, which has been dubbed a “weapon of mosquito destruction” fires at mosquitoes once it detects the audio frequency created by the beating of its wings.

    ..could be modified to detect targets based on visual recognition, not sound. As in the scene in Ironman, when he captures an image (each) of a group hostage takers, then fires off bullets that target them directly, based on image recognition. That would be a big help for hostage situations –

  3. Infidel753 says:

    Even better. And perhaps it could be modified to react to the audio frequency created by ranting-and-raving imams.

  4. mary says:

    Or maybe it could be programmed to react to the combined odors of cave-rat poop, gunpowder and unwashed scraggly beards.

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