So after seeing so many large-scale robots, people would be shocked to find out that the next great leap is creating a super-tiny robot. But the fact remains that making an effective tiny robot is also hard, and has incredible potential. So small insects… flies?
This is a nifty robot fly, made by researchers at Harvard University. Normal flies are small, but have wings that can flap at 120 time per second. To replicate the fly’s marvelous behavior, this robot fly weighs a mere 80 milligrams but has wings with a wingspan of 3 cm and a frequency of up to 120 Hz (cycles per second). In addition, each of the wings can be controlled independently, giving way to a wide variety of behaviors and flight patterns.
The “muscles” of this robot are made of piezoelectric actuators, strips of ceramic that expand and contract with the stimulation of electricity. The frame is made of carbon fiber and plastic hinge joints, altogether creating a very light structure.
This robot fly is part of a larger project called Robobees, with the goal to make advances in miniature robotics and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple independent robots. This means that the robot fly could become a swarm robot and propagate the skies! However, currently this robot only functions tethered to a power source, so we’ll have to see how it goes.
Let the robots fly!