Nanotechnology is the science, engineering, and technology at the molecular level, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.
At Duke University, bio-medical engineers have created a robot shaped like a dragonfly with a soft body that operates without electronics. This miniature robot is driven by air pressure through microchannels in its hydrogel body. DraBot, as it is called, can glide above the surface of bodies of water to sense environmental conditions.
A product of nanotechnology research, DraBot is still in the proof-of-concept stages. When completed, it may have sensors for pH, temperature, or contaminants like oil, among others. DraBot could herald the arrival of swarms of environmental monitors, operating autonomously and at long-range. In nature, dragonflies are indicators of good health in an ecosystem. These tiny robots may soon help to spot many types of environmental problems.
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