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How do you build a robot that’s smaller than an insect?

BY Rebecca Jacobson  April 11, 2014 at 11:10 AM EDT

How do you build a robot smaller than the tip of your finger? Inspired by the strength, speed and agility of insects, Sarah Bergbreiter from the University of Maryland is designing tiny robots. But the big challenge has been giving them legs that can navigate harsh terrain at high speeds. The ‘bots, which are smaller than a penny, have to be built using a microscope. Bergbreiter hopes that these tiny robots can be used to hunt through disaster rubble for victims, crawling into spaces where humans can’t.

Miles O’Brien has more on these robots for the National Science Foundation series Science Nation.*

*For the record, the National Science Foundation is an underwriter of the NewsHour.