Recently, scientists have developed a wireless flying robotic insect, which can assist in various time-consuming tasks, such as surveying the growth of crops on large farms and/or identifying gas leaks. These insect robots fly using fluttering tiny wings, as they are too small to make use of propellers, similar to those, which are seen on their larger drone counterparts. Their small size is beneficial for manufacturers, as these robots are pretty economical to produce and can easily get into tight places, which, otherwise, are unreachable to big drones. However, the existing flying robosects are still tied to the ground because the electronics, they require to run and control their wings, are too heavy to carry for these miniature robots.
As of now, engineers at the University of Washington have cut the cord for the first time and included a mind, enabling their RoboFly to take its first free flap. This may be one little flap for a robot; however it is a massive leap for robot-kind. The engineering team will showcase its discoveries at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation on May 23, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. RoboFly is controlled by a laser beam and is a little heavier than a toothpick. It makes use of a tiny onboard circuit, which transforms the laser energy into sufficient power required for its wings to function.
Sawyer Fuller, the co-creator and a professor at the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering, stated that before this, the idea of wireless bug-sized flying robots was just a sci-fi. “Would we ever be competent enough to make them to function without requiring a wire?” “Our novel wireless RoboFly does show that they are considerably closer to the real life,” he added further.