Fly, Robot Fly

Flies have evolved complex mechanisms to regulate their flight, including performing intricate flapping and twisting wing movements, which the robotic fly does 120 times a second. A clamp holds the robot in place to keep it from escaping the camera’s lens. Photos: Robert Wood

Insects are capable of executing stunning aerial feats, including flying upside down, hovering and landing on walls and ceilings. Perhaps for this reason alone, they have inspired a whole suite of flying machines that share key properties with their arthropod forebears. But these robotic fliers are just beginning to conquer flight on the scale of insects. In March 2007, Robert Wood’s microrobotic fly proved it could generate enough thrust to lift off the ground on its own, becoming the first insect-size robot to fly.

Via IEEE Spectrum.

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