The use of mechanical memory like springs has been important for hundreds of years and has led to advanced technology in devices like clocks. Now, researchers have developed “picosprings” that can be integrated into soft, 3D structures at a very small scale, allowing for remote control through magnetic fields. These picosprings can be used in microrobots to propel themselves, grasp and release cells, and measure very small forces. This technology has significant potential for biomedical applications, allowing for localized force sensing and actuation in low Reynolds number environments. The researchers received funding from the European Research Council for their work. This development is an important step towards creating remotely controlled microdevices for non-invasive medical applications, and adds a new capability to microelectronic morphogenesis and artificial life research.
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