Ultra-tiny nanomachines are redefining how we think of robots

BACK in the first 2000s, an incredible thing happened in the New X-Men comics. Our mutant heroes have been battling giant robots called Sentinels for a long time, but suddenly these mechanical overlords spawned a fresh threat: Nano-Sentinels! Not content to rule Earth with their metal fists, these tiny robots invaded our anatomies at the microscopic level. Infected humans were slowly changed into machines, cell by cell.

Now, a new wave of extremely odd robots is making at least the main Nano-Sentinels story come true. Using exotic fabrication materials like squishy hydrogels and elastic polymers, researchers are making autonomous …

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