Northwestern engineers invent world's smallest remote-controlled walking robots

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Engineers at Northwestern University have invented the world's smallest remote-controlled walking robots.

Each one is about half a millimeter wide, not even as thick as a penny.

It took a year and a half to complete the project.

The students involved with the effort designed robots that looked like crabs and other animals. They used a malleable, shape-memory alloy.

With the robots in standing position, the team used lasers to heat up certain joints, creating movement.

The hope is that this could eventually be used in minimally invasive surgeries or to assemble and repair small-scale machines.

The research on the invention was published in the journal Science Robotics.