Robotic fly to descend on New York

Last updated Jan 21, 2008 — 17266 views

Harvard University’s tiny microrobotic fly, hailed by its creators as “the first robotic fly that is able to generate enough thrust to takeoff,” will be showcased at New York’s Museum of Modern Art starting Feb. 24.

The life-sized “Flybot” reportedly has a wingspan of 1.2 inches (3 cm) and weighs a mere 0.002 ounces (60 mg).

The project is directed by Harvard faculty member Dr. Robert Wood. It has received funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which hopes to gain access to micro-miniature surveillance technologies.

The following Youtube video provides an overview of this unique robotic device, and briefly explains its principles of motion.

Harvard’s Flybot in Action
(Click image to play)

In an email to DeviceGuru, Wood said, “We are currently powering and controlling the fly off-board. In these recent results we created a solution to the mechanics and aeromechanics of a high-speed insect-like wing drive at the scale of a fly. But the power is not being supplied by the two parallel guides. Instead the power is supplied by thin (25micron) wires (may be hard to see in the videos). The two parallel wires that are prominent in the videos are just guides.”

A much higher resolution version of the Youtube video, with much more detail visible, can be downloaded from the project’s website, here (warning: 42MB mpg file download).

Further details may be found on the Harvard Microbotics Lab’s website. Details on the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, entitled “Design and the elastic mind,” are here.

One response to “Robotic fly to descend on New York”

  1. Tony Lovell says:

    Are these compatible with existing flypaper, or will they necessitate an expensive upgrade?