Monday, March 12, 2012

Insect-sized robot to explore shafts of Great Pyramid


A Hong Kong dentist is wielding forceps to help reach for answers inside the last surviving example of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Pulling teeth by day and devising inventions by night, Ng Tze-chuen, 59, said he organized a team working with Egypt's former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass to unlock the mystery surrounding the doors blocking two narrow shafts in the pyramid, which is the tomb of the Pharaoh Cheops, also known as Khufu.

"The Chinese have more experience with chopsticks. And a dentist has more experience in gripping with forceps," said Ng.

"Why Egypt is so interesting, it's because of the hieroglyphics. It's like a detective story. It's all waiting for me to use my grippers."

Inspired by dental forceps -- he has designed 70 of his own to properly grip the tricky crevices of patients' teeth -- Ng said his team will mount tiny grippers on an insect-sized robot expected to gently trek the winding shafts of the pyramid without causing damage to the walls.

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