The reconfigurable robots, made of metal rings and strips, can be folded into different shapes.

MIT researchers have created a tiny reconfigurable robot made up of metal rings and strips that is “small, cheap, durable and strong.” It’s called a ‘milli-motein,’ as it has millimeter-sized components and a motorized design inspired by proteins, which are able to fold into complex shapes.

The chain robot features a strong electropermanent motor that can firmly hold its position even with the power switched off. A series of permanent magnets are paired with electromagnets and arranged in a circle, driving a steel ring around them.

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