Tech Digest daily roundup: Meet the tiny robot smaller than a flea!

This tiny robot crawling on a coin is smaller than the size of a flea. Pic: Northwestern University

Engineers have unveiled the smallest remote-controlled walking robot ever created – even tinier than a flea. The tiny robotic crab can “walk, bend, twist, turn and jump” according to engineers from Northwestern University in the US. It could signal the beginning of a new era of microscale robotics. The little machine isn’t powered by miniaturised hardware and electronics, but instead by a shape-memory alloy material that transforms when it is heated. The researchers use a scanned laser beam to rapidly heat the device at different locations across its body to make them transform and effectively force the robot to move. Sky News 

The tiny robot crawls along the edge of a coin. Pic: Northwestern University

The Indian owner of Jaguar Land Rover is threatening to shift electric car production to Slovakia if ministers refuse to offer taxpayer support for a UK gigafactory. Tata Motors has held talks with the foreign battery makers Northvolt and SVolt Energy Technology amid a deadlock over state backing for a plant in the UK, which is key to its plans to go all-electric by 2025. The company has previously announced that new electric models will be built at existing factories in the Midlands, and is understood to be in advanced negotiations about building a gigafactory in either near Bristol or Redcar. Telegraph 

A Twitter investor is suing Elon Musk and the social media platform over the handling of the billionaire’s $44bn (£34.9bn) bid for the company. The case alleges he violated California corporate laws in a number of ways. It accuses the Tesla boss of “wrongful conduct” as his “false statements and market manipulation have created ‘chaos’ at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco”. Twitter shares are around 27% lower than Mr Musk’s $54.20 offer price. The proposed class action lawsuit was filed this week at the US District Court for the Northern District of California by investor William Heresniak. BBC

An OAP has been left heartbroken after her sausage dog killed when he was thrown into the air by an e-scooter riding on a pavement. Sue Reynolds was walking her 14-year-old dachshund Jumbo when the scooter, which was being ridden on the pavement, hit her dog lead, sending Jumbo flying into the air. The tiny animal landed on the road, where she said he “faded away” and died. Reynolds, 72, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, said the “aggressive” e-scooter ride, a man in his 20s, told her that she shouldn’t have been walking on the pavement before he left the scene. Yahoo!

Amazon has announced the new games coming to its Prime Gaming service this June. Heading the line up is Far Cry 4, which sees players taking on the role of Ajay Ghale as he becomes caught up in a civil war in the fictional Kyrat. Meanwhile, users will also have the chance to jet off to the tropical shores of Mêlée this month, thanks to the arrival of Escape from Monkey Island. This a timely addition to the service, with the sixth game in the Monkey Island series (the appropriately-named Return to Monkey Island) due to release some time this year. Eurogamer

Chris Price
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