Miniature RoboBee can fly and swim

The RoboBee is a miniature robot able to fly, that can also land in water, using a modified flapping technique.

RoboBee, invented by Harvard’s John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and Wyss Institute, is the first-ever aerial and aquatic capable insect-scale robot.

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In June last year, the scientists debuted the RoboBee with a carbon fibre body. Now the newly updated design features a way of controlling the number of flaps the wings makes per second.

Miniature RoboBee can fly and swim (2)

Latest model by the team, can dive and swim, using a special manoeuvre to enter water.

Smaller than a paperclip, it is powered and controlled using a lightweight tether. Can perform agile manoeuvres like insects.

Miniature RoboBee can fly and swim (3)

“The RoboBees project explores fundamental questions in materials science, fluid mechanics, controls, circuit design, manufacturing, and computer science. For us, bees are something of a metaphor. They are social insects; they interact with their environment and with each other in ways that make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. We look to bee colonies as inspiration to do something useful with a group of simple robots.  That means we have to understand a number of questions.”

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