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Flying Microrobots for Pollination, Rescue, and Navigating Machinery

Flying microrobots are diminutive drones developed by a group of researchers from MIT, Harvard, and the City University of Hong Kong.

flying-microrobots-photo-1
Image credit: MIT

These microrobots are powered by soft actuators made of thin rubber cylinders coated in a carbon nanotube, producing an electrostatic force that squeezes and elongates the rubber cylinder when voltage is being applied.

They recently proposed a new fabrication technique by removing air bubbles to produce low-voltage, power-dense artificial muscles that can improve the actuation of these microrobots.

flying-microrobots-photo-3
Image credit: MIT

A swarm of these robots can have possible applications to pollinate a field of crops, search the rubble of a collapsed building for survivors, or navigate complex machinery to check for defects.

flying-microrobots-photo-2
Image credit: MIT

key points:

  • can flap its tiny wings 500 times per second for collision recovery
  • weight is 0.6 g!

Watch a short video of this below:

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