Robotic insect takes off for the first time

Robotic FlyResearchers at Harvard have created a robotic fly that could one day be used for covert surveillance and detecting toxic chemicals.

A life-size, robotic fly has taken flight at Harvard University. Weighing only 60 milligrams, with a wingspan of three centimeters, the tiny robot's movements are modeled on those of a real fly.

After more than seven years of work studying flight dynamics and improving various parts, Wood's fly finally took off this spring. "When I got the fly to take off, I was literally jumping up and down in the lab," he says.

Other researchers have built robots that mimic insects, but this is the first two-winged robot built on such a small scale that can take off using the same motions as a real fly.

While much work remains to be done on the mechanical insect, the researchers say that such small flying machines could one day be used as spies, or for detecting harmful chemicals.

Video after the jump.

Video: Technology Review
Link & Image: Technology Review
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