Solar Powered Flying Microbots

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Roboticists have long used insects, fish and small animals as ideal models for building small robots leading to innovations in areas including entomology, computing and electrical engineering.

Solar Powered Flying Microbots

A Colony of Solar Powered Flying Microbots! The Harvard Robobee Project is funded by the National Science Foundation. Scientists believe these robotic bees will autonomously pollinate field crops, perform search and rescue tasks, hazardous environment exploration, military surveillance and so much more. It’s what’s happening in your world now.

cropped-RoboBeeHoney

The researchers have been involved in the design of miniature robots powered wirelessly by very small high energy sources including solar powered wings; this has been combined with advances in ultra low power computing and electronic sensors. Scientists and engineers are attempting to re-create the collective behavior of bee colonies. At the heart of this project is an attempt to re-create and build a bee’s nervous system in electronic form.

Specifications

  • Folding joints: 22
  • Assembly scaffold folding joints: 115
  • Total device folding joints: 137
  • Number of brass pads for “glue” points: 52
  • Total number of “glue” points: 24
  • Mass: 90 mg
  • By mass, one U.S. quarter = 63 Harvard Monolithic Bees

Practical Applications

Essential to the project is the creation of behaviors of real bee colonies. Scientists, concerned about the recent decline in the bee population, believe that autonomous pollinating of field crops, search and rescue tasks, hazardous environment exploration, military surveillance, and weather, climate and traffic monitoring are all possible.

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