Robotic insect makes first controlled flight

Posted at 10:37 AM, May 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-03 12:03:06-04

The RoboBee is the smallest artificial insect ever flown, according to the researchers and graduate students at Harvard that built it.

The bug weighs just .003 ounces with a wingspan stretching just over an inch. Its body is slightly taller than a penny standing on edge.

The body of the bug is made from carbon-fiber composites with thin plastic strips serving as joints.

At this point, the RoboBee can lift off table, hover and fly in different directions while tethered by thin wires. Landing still remains an issue.

The team’s next challenge is to gradually move the bug to an untethered autonomous state.

To get there, the RoboBee will need to see where it’s going.

Another team of researchers announced this week that they have developed a buglike compound lens for collecting video.