The University of Toronto in Canada has developed a pair of robotic grippers that can apply as little of 20 nanoNewtons of force on an object, using its three-millimeters-long arms to grab cells 10 micrometers across and transport them. What’s more, the gripper has sensors that allow it to know how hard it’s grabbing something and keep it from running into things – an important development for robotic grippers.

With this technology, grippers could be used to build structures inside the body – or without. The grippers could be employed helping researchers build tiny machines, for instance. They can act on their own, too, as with the right software the machines would be entirely autonomous.

New Scientist Tech, via DVICE