Watch a nanorobot build a microscopic house on the tip of a fiberoptic filament

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Even that size, it’s still going to cost over $500,000 in Toronto.


Now that is a tiny house and all it needs are some tiny hipsters to move in.


Sorry, is this really what the title claims? I see a microscopic house being cut and folded, but not by any nanorobots. Isn’t this actually a demonstration of how that lab can use macroscopic equipment to fold microscopic ‘origami’?


Clearly you missed the shot of the tiny robot foreman directing the nanoexcavator.


The setup uses six DoF (degree-of-freedom) microrobots.




Also, obligs…


Came here to say the same thing, and it was the first comment. I feel you pain, brother.

  1. I didn’t see any robot
  2. I didn’t “watch.” I was shown a series of stills.
  3. They spelled “explanation” wrong.
  4. Without actually hearing it, I will wager that the music they listen to is just a bunch of noise!

You jest, but i stayed up another two minutes past my ‘seriously now; get some sleep’ hour precisely to see the tiny robot. I sort of imagined it would roll around extruding the house like a print head.

I might be a bit weird, but I was almost as impressed by the fact that they had printed their names and logos (perfectly legibly!) on the end of the fiber-optic filament. How on earth do you do that? Did they first build the world’s smallest inkjet printer?

But I am not afraid to consider the final question as to whether, ultimately – in the great future – we can arrange the atoms the way we want; the very atoms, all the way down!


I think I’m unclear on the concept. I mean, I long to see even a single degree-of-freedom microrobot, in or out of action, but… they’re not even in evidence at the link in your comment. Are micro/nano robots something like a quantum state of matter, or, like, do they require a particular state of mind, to become visible? Is the little house its own manufacturing nanobot?

I notice the microrobotex website’s “news” page consists of a single paragraph of lorem ipsum. This has me wondering if there’s a hoax afoot. But I want to believe! Maybe if I understood the words better, the nanorobots in the provided pictures would spring into view?

I believe the lay public has been led to believe by media depictions that microbots are fully automated self-contained devices that move independently and have some kind of programming. While those are indevelopment, at this time it usually means a small rudimentary mechanism that can be toggled or turned. It’s not like they dropped six tiny automata on a fiberobtic cable and they decided to build a house. In the far right picture in the first set, you can see the assembly of a microscopic mechanism used in manufacture:

Note I’m not saying that’s an image of what they used to build the house. Here’s an animation of the concept behind the house:

Here’s a good overview:

If you have more questions about their work, I always recommend contacting them directly.


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