Watch this tiny robot assemble itself, carry things around, and dissolve into nothing

Robots seem to get crazier and crazier with each passing week, but even among all the self-stabilizing robo-dogs and humanoid firefighters, this tiny little origami robot is definitely one of the most impressive ones we’ve seen lately.

The bot starts life as a thin, postage stamp-sized wafer made of PVC, sandwiched between laser-cut structural layers of either polystyrene or paper. When placed on a heated surface, the PVC layer will contract, which, thanks to a series of strategically placed cuts, causes the bot to fold up into an origami shape with legs and a body.

Once it’s taken this form, the tiny little robot (which only weighs a third of a gram), is capable of walking around, carrying a load twice its weight, swimming, and even dissolving itself when it’s all said and done.

To make this possible, the robot (if you can even call it that?) carries a small neodymium magnet on its back. When this magnet is exposed to an external magnetic field, it begins to oscillate, thereby causing the robot itself to vibrate along with it. As this happens, the robot’s back and front legs contact the ground in an alternating fashion, which, thanks to it’s asymmetrical design and intentionally off-center balance point, causes the bot to slowly wiggle its way forward.

The amazing thing that, by doing little more than changing the frequency of the external magnetic field, it’s possible to steer the bot around and have it perform various tasks. In the video above, the researchers show of its ability to walk or swim around in a certain pattern, dig through piles, and even push other objects to a different location.

When the bot has completed its mission (whatever it may be), it can also autonomously destroy itself to hide the evidence. The bot will slowly dissolve if dunked into a pool of acetone, leaving nothing behind but the neodymium magnet is once bore.

It doesn’t have a lot of practical applications at this point, but moving forward, the researchers who created the bot hope to shrink it down and integrate sensors into its hull. Eventually, the goal is to design super small, completely autonomous robots like this that can work inside of the human body.

Gaming

Square Enix has no clue how many episodes Final Fantasy VII Remake will take

The initial release of the Final Fantasy VII Remake on March 3, 2020 will feature the part of the adventure that takes place in Midgar. Square Enix has no idea on how many episodes it will take to tell the full story of the original RPG.
Mobile

Huawei’s lock screen ads were a mistake, but may be a sign of things to come

Ads were placed on the lock screen of Huawei device owners yesterday, causing outcry on forums and social media. Huawei initially said it wasn't responsible, but that's no longer the case. Here's what happened.
Computing

Dropbox’s all-new desktop app wants to be your one and only workspace

Dropbox has unveiled its most significant update yet as it continues to move away from its original core service as a place to store files in the cloud, toward a virtual workspace solution that offers all services in-app.
Mobile

Amazon Prime Day 2019 will likely be on July 15, according to leaked email

It looks like we now have an idea of when Amazon Prime Day 2019 will be, thanks to a leaked email that was sent out to promote a vacuum cleaner deal for Prime Day. According to the email, the massive shopping event will take place on July…
Emerging Tech

This drone with hands looks like a nightmare straight out of Black Mirror

This unlikely drone-with-hands creation is the work of Federico Ciccarese, the brains behind YouBionic, a bionic hand project that has evolved far beyond its original brief. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

This crazy-looking robot uses microspines on its legs to climb up walls

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have built a bioinspired robot, which uses microspines on its feet to grip onto rough surfaces. This allows it to climb up very steep gradients. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Got $400 million to burn? The world’s largest airplane is up for sale

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, is up for sale. All it'll cost you is $400 million dollars. The brainchild of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the plane was supposed to make space travel more accessible and affordable.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Florida’s autonomous vehicle law, E3 updates, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we take a look at the biggest trending stories in tech, including Florida allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road, Atari’s new gaming system, E3 updates, high-speed rail, and more.
Emerging Tech

Ex astris, scientia: Star Trek logo spotted on the surface of Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been boldly going to Mars and capturing images since 2005, and now it has spotted something where no man has gone before: a structure on the planet's surface which will look familiar to Trekkies.
Emerging Tech

Adobe develops tool to identify Photoshopped images of faces

With deepfake videos making headlines, and campaigns against the Photoshopping of models, people are more aware than ever of the digital manipulation of images. Now Adobe wants to give tools to users to let them spot faked images.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will pave the way for manned missions to Mars

Survival on Mars is a massive challenge for humanity. To cope with the highly variable temperatures, lack of oxygen and water, and high levels of radiation, the Mars 2020 rover will carry instruments to pave the way for human exploration.
Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Emerging Tech

Impossible Foods struggles to keep up with Impossible Burger demand

Red Robin and White Castle have reported Impossible Burger shortages, as it appears that Impossible Foods is struggling to keep up with demand. The company will be selling its meat-like patties in retail outlets within the year.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!