WATCH: Tiny Robo-Bee

salve arial,sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>Soon, spies could be using a robot that takes its cue from nature. This bee-inspired micro aerial vehicle (MAV) robot is the creation of Harvard University researchers who were out on a mission to extend tiny robot legs by imitating nature.

Hovering, like flying, is incredibly energy intensive. For a tiny robot this can be a huge issue, as with small size comes small battery capacity. This greatly reduces operational time and possible missions.

The team behind the robo-bee, who published their findings in the Journal science, confirmed the suspicion that robots could save a lot of energy if they simply landed and perched whenever they could, much like a bee flying from flower to flower.

To achieve a workable solution, the team tried out different surface adhesion methods, finally settling on a unique combination of an electrostatic material and foam. In essence, they’ve given tiny robot built-in landing pads.

The researchers tested out their findings by building a MAV with an attached electrostatic patch made of copper electrodes over a carbon-fibre base and coated with polyamide. The whole contraption rests atop a small foam cylinder – to cushion the landing.

When charged, the electrostatic plate can adhere to most surfaces that respond to static electricity, like wood, glass, and many others. The technology works just as well on a ceiling as it does on a floor, Robert Wood, a co-author of the new study, told Mashable.

 

Despite needing power to stick to surfaces, the energy requirements for adhesion are significantly lower than for flight. This allows the robot to operate for far longer periods.

And what could it do? Wood says it could be useful in “basically any situation where you want to have low cost and distributed sensing [that] would be too difficult or too dangerous for a human.” But another advantage this technique provides is stealth. A tiny robot bug could land anywhere and stay out of sight for extended periods of time, only to take off when no one is around. Spies will love them.

Article courtesy : iHLSIsrael Homeland Security

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