The robot resembles a tiny crab and measures just a half-millimeter wide. It can "bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn and even jump," according to a university news release.
Footage released by Northwestern University showed the tiny robot scurrying left to right and right to left, just as a crab would.
Smaller than a flea, tiny robotic crab sits next to the eye of a sewing needle. (Northwestern University via Storyful)
Size comparisons showed the robot appearing no bigger than the tip of a ballpoint pen or the eye of a sewing needle.
Researchers have also created millimeter-sized robots resembling inchworms, crickets and even beetles.
And while the robots are being made purely for exploratory purposes, researchers believe this will inspire further innovation of micro-sized technologies that can perform practical tasks inside tightly confined spaces.
Tiny walking robot stands on the edge of a coin. (Northwestern University via Storyful)
"Robotics is an exciting field of research, and the development of microscale robots is a fun topic for academic exploration," said John A. Rogers, who led the experimental work. "You might imagine micro-robots as agents to repair or assemble small structures or machines in industry or as surgical assistants to clear clogged arteries, to stop internal bleeding or to eliminate cancerous tumors — all in minimally invasive procedures."
Tiny robotic crab sits on the tip of a ball-point pen. (Northwestern University via Storyful)
Storyful contributed to this report. This story was reported out of Los Angeles.