Inventors: Ray Byrne, Ed Heller and Doug Adkins; Sandia National Laboratories
Imagine a robot small enough to crawl through pipes to check for chemical leaks or sneak under doors to spy on intruders. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have created the Mini Autonomous Robot Vehicle Jr. to do just that. Smaller than a cherry and powered by three watch batteries, MARV Jr. can cover 20 in. per min. on custom-made tracks fashioned from strips of latex balloons. Future versions may include miniature cameras, microphones and chemical microsensors.
Availability: Around 2006, for under $500
To Learn More: www.sandia.gov/isrc/