The RoboBee project at Harvard University is attempting to create a hive of small flying robots. In the article in the March 2013 issue of Scientific American, the project’s creators detail the challenges of building and controlling such tiny robots. The first video depicts some early flight tests of RoboBee prototypes. The slow-motion shots show the RoboBee turning in four different directions after takeoff. You’ll also notice a small wire hanging from the bee’s underside—that’s to supply power. Any battery (or other known energy-storage system) strong enough to power the RoboBee would be too heavy to allow the robot to take flight.
The second video details the clever strategy that the researchers have come up with to mass-produce complex robotic systems the size of a nickel.
Videos courtesy Rob Wood/Harvard University