Robotic Insect Takes Off
July 22, 2007 4:59 AM   Subscribe

Miniature Robotic Insect Takes Off Researchers have created a miniature robotic fly that weighs just 60 milligrams and has a wingspan of three centimeters for covert surveillance. Thats progress!
posted by ItsaMario (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
this article is going to be copied and pasted to every alt.paranoia newsgroup in the universe.

still, it is pretty cool. something about the design reminds me vaguely of muscle fiber. expansion and contraction and all that. It'll get really interesting when we're able to make larger robots like that.
posted by Avenger at 5:06 AM on July 22, 2007

The robot's small size and fly-like appearance are critical to such missions. "You probably wouldn't notice a fly in the room, but you certainly would notice a hawk," Wood says.

Not if the hawk was really sneaky.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 5:42 AM on July 22, 2007

Toner wars.
posted by asok at 5:49 AM on July 22, 2007

My uncle's ex-stepdaughter's husband is on this research team. No, really.
posted by zardoz at 6:05 AM on July 22, 2007

The real problem will be the power source. It's going to need to be chemical.

I think we're much more likely to see genetically modified insects then robot ones do these kinds of tasks.
posted by delmoi at 8:06 AM on July 22, 2007

The researchers must still design a control system for the robot

Quite an achievement, but they are still far away from being able to buzz a fake fly into a room to collect data unnoticed.

It would also suck to have your expensive secret surveillance device defeated by a flyswatter.
posted by The Deej at 9:26 AM on July 22, 2007

posted by 3.2.3 at 9:56 AM on July 22, 2007

pasted to every alt.paranoia

You want paranoid? Swap out the camera for a tiny syrette of Botulinum.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:53 AM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

That's really neat. It reminded me of some researchers I heard about who were observing how insects navigate in order to apply it to UAVs. That was how I added AI to my list of things I want to study in college.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 10:57 AM on July 22, 2007

Sayonara Ceiling Cat.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:08 AM on July 22, 2007

Chemical detectors my left butt cheek. It's like they want me to kill every insect I see.

Ooo, but it's cool the description about how the manufactured it out of laser cut sheets of carbon fiber.
posted by Mister Cheese at 2:07 PM on July 22, 2007

If you spray it with Raid and it doesn't die, be very, very careful.
posted by Cranberry at 2:50 PM on July 22, 2007

It doesn't fly, it needs an armature to hold it in place, whereupon it can exert a force in excess of its "weight" - and even then, only because the powersource is not included in the weight.

This robot insect, in contrast not only flies without an armature, it flies while carrying its power supply, and not only that, but it is stable enough that it can be steered while flying and go where you want, and not only that, it's yours for only $50 at the local toystore.

Now, you could wait 20 years until the fly-sized thing is at a working stage and you can use it to spy on people, or you say "to hell with spying on people, it's more FUN to make them SHIT THEIR PANTS! And do it TODAY" in which case, you choice of hardware is clear :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:17 PM on July 22, 2007

Hmmm. Does it have haptic feedback, like in this book?
posted by weston at 6:20 PM on July 22, 2007

I think we're much more likely to see genetically modified insects then robot ones do these kinds of tasks.

posted by Krrrlson at 7:53 PM on July 22, 2007

Also, the article is wrong -- the current version of the fly uses a piezo actuator, not electroactive polymers.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:54 PM on July 22, 2007

This thing sucks. I agree the Dragonfly is awesome -
these guys have even more hardcore AV copters - stuff you can mount an HD camcorder in. A bit more than $50 though...
posted by Emoskimo at 10:34 AM on July 23, 2007

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