Our current main robot nearing completion is MAYA, the Microscopic Airborne YBCO Assembler. The robot is to be made out of YBCO, a material that becomes a superconductor at liquid nitrogen temperatures. This material has been pressed into a desired shape with micro fabricated molds. The robot is actuated by flux pinning, a phenomenon where the superconductor that makes up the robot resists changes to the magnetic field passing through it. This allows control of the robot through the magnetic field in three dimensions, as well as rotation, enabling the robot to manipulate objects freely.
Display perfect diamagnetism below a transition temperature (repels magnetic field)
Magnetic field penetrates superconductor in lattice of vortices containing a quantized amount of magnetic flux
Resists any changes in magnetic field
250 um Neodymium magnets generate magnetic field that is pinned by the superconductor
Discrete movement using high resolution linear slides with object tracking software
Minimum step size of 2 microns in the X, Y and 6 microns in the Z plane