These precision instruments allow for safe interaction with insects. The possibilities of this invention are endless.
The fingers Humans are clearly too old to safely interact with insects, but technology could give us a more complex option. Scientists from Ristumeikan University have developed “microfingers” thanks to soft robots that allow humans to interact with insects. These tiny fingers, measuring just 1.20 cm in length and 3.5 mm in width, combine liquid metal pressure sensors and “muscles” fitted with air balloons to provide enough force to touch an insect without harming it. The human operator controls the small hand with automatic gain.
These precision instruments allow safe interaction with insects
To test this technology, the researchers used a microfinger to measure the reaction force of the woodlice’s legs and trunk. This creature’s leg force of 10 millinewtons matched previous estimates – a number that science has never been able to verify directly until today.
This technology may be useful for studying forces insects. However, the team of researchers sees their invention as useful for other interactions on a microscopic scale, particularly with the help of augmented reality glasses that would deliver more accurate and detailed vision. Future versions may one day help scientists interact with it directly bacteria and other viruses.
The possibilities of this invention are endless
The challenge, as with many scientific inventions like this, is now how to translate this discovery into a practical product. The Ritsumeikan team cautioned that this is only a proof of concept and a “representative study.” It may be a very long time before this technology can be fully tested, let alone considered for mass production. In any case, it allows us to dream of a future in which humans can pick up small things in a very natural way.
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