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Micro machines experience thrill of victory, agony of defeat at Mobile Microrobotics Challenge

Tim Stevens

It's time to take a glimpse into the future -- the future of what will someday be swimming in your bloodstream. Video highlights from the 2010 NIST Mobile Microrobotics Challenge have started trickling out, and we're mighty impressed. Through various events, like the 2mm dash, universities and institutions competed to determine whose tiny contraptions would reign supreme. Various competitors won various prizes, with the French CNRS team spanning that 2mm distance in an amazing 32ms, while Swiss team ETH Zurich showed its prowess at slotting 100µm pins (human hair sized) into impossibly small holes. That's a picture of one of the competition arenas above, and we think you'll want to see the video of ETH's tiny bulldozer doing its thing after the break. In a few years we figure these little suckers will be doing something like this in your body, but instead of assembling puzzles they'll be overcoming natural defenses and removing your will to live.

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