US Scientists at the Harvard University created a robot of the size of fly which can perform fast manoeuvres of omnipresent insects. The robot called Robo-Fly is built from the carbon fibre which weighs just a fraction of the gram and also has super-fast electronic muscles that are used to power the wings.
The developers of the robot described that the tiny robots like these could be used in various rescue operations. For example, such a kind of the robot could be used for navigating through the tiny spaces in buildings which have collapsed.
Dr Kevin Ma of Harvard University as well as his team which was led by Dr Robert Wood described their creation as the world's smallest flying robot.
The fly-like agility that this robot encompasses, allows it to evade the fastest human efforts to swat them. This ability came because of precise wing movements.
The robot has the ability to perform immediate evasive manoeuvres as well as hover, by constant adjustment of the effect of lift and thrust which acts on the body at extremely high speed. Like any real fly, the flexible and thin wings of the robot can beat around 120 times per second.
This high speed of the wings can be achieved with the help of a special substance known as piezoelectric material. This material contracts each time with the application of the voltage to it. The scientists switched on and off the voltage very rapidly and this helped them in making the material behave like tiny muscles which make the fly’s wings beat very fast.
The scientists explained that the primary goal of this research was not to build the useful robot, but understand the flight working of the insects. However, now, with the development of the robot, there could be various uses of the machine. These robots could also be used for the monitoring of the environment by being dispersed into habitat for sensing trace chemicals or certain other factors.
Dr Ma also explained that these robots were able to behave like the real insects and could also help in pollination of crops.
At present, the model of robo-fly is small, off-board power source. However, in the next step, it would be created as the completely wireless flying robot.