Simple microparticles can beat rhythmically together, generating an oscillating electrical current

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Taking advantage of a phenomenon known as emergent behavior in the microscale, MIT engineers have designed simple microparticles that can collectively generate complex behavior, much the same way that a colony of ants can dig tunnels or collect food.

Working together, the microparticles can generate a beating clock that oscillates at a very low frequency. These oscillations can then be harnessed to power tiny robotic devices, the researchers showed.
“In addition to being interesting from a physics point of view, this behavior can also be translated into an on-board oscillatory electrical signal, which can be very …

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