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Published on May 2, 2013
This demonstration of the first controlled flight of an insect-sized robot, and the world's smallest micro air vehicle (MAV), is the culmination of more than a decade's work. Half the size of a paperclip and weighing less than a tenth of a gram, the robot bee was inspired by the biology of two-winged flying insects such as a bee or a fly. Two wafer-thin wings flap almost invisibly, 120 times per second, to propel and steer the robot into the air. The robotic bee, or Robobee, embodies new design and manufacturing techniques for micro scale machines. Additional components necessary for fully wireless, autonomous flight are in active development.
This research was performed by the Microrobotics Lab at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.