Miniature flying robots


At team at the wonderfully named Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard have created some tiny hovering robots. They are about the size of a house fly. So far, they can only fly tethered to a battery pack and controller, with battery technology still the limiting factor. To make flying machines this small the team had to come up with a new form of manufacturing, because no miniaturised components are available at this scale. The process they used is called smart composite microstructures. It uses lasers to cut shapes from very thin sheets of material. These shapes are then bonded together and folded to make components. Clever properties can then be incorporated into the components. My story here.

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