"Though she be but little, she is fierce."
Helena says this of Hermia in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, but she could just as easily be talking about microscopic robots developed by Dr. Marc Miskin, an engineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
The robots range from the size of a speck of dust to the size of a cell, befitted with legs allowing them which they use to flagellate.
Below is a photo of one of the robots beside paramecium:
The New York Times reports that the robots:
"They could crawl into cellphone batteries and clean and rejuvenate them. They might be a boon to neural scientists, burrowing into the brain to measure nerve signals. Millions of them in a petri dish could be used to test ideas in networking and communications."
Miskin controls the robots, which are solar powered, by shining tiny lasers on their backs. They're small enough to be injected through a syringe.
Though there are still challenges—such as finding a power source in cases that laser power isn't possible, such as in the brain—Miskin remains optimistic.
People are intrigued.
Little but fierce.