A team at Stanford University has created tiny, ant-like robots that can pull up to 2,000 times their own weight. To give you some perspective on scale, that’s the equivalent of a human dragging a blue whale.

The itty-bitty robots - dubbed MicroTugs - take their inspiration from nature, borrowing their super strength techniques from ants and geckos. The team used an adhesive that works the same way as a gecko’s feet, allowing the robots to carry great weights, even while scaling walls.

The team at Stanford, including PhD students David Christensen and Elliot Hawkes, demonstrated a 9g robot that can carry more than 1kg vertically up glass. This is equivalent to a human climbing a skyscraper while carrying an elephant.

As far as practical uses, the robots can be used in factories, building sites, rescues and assisting in the hostile robot uprising.