Friday, June 30, 2006

Power Sucking Robot Gnats

From US Air Force Institute of Technology:
Engineers are working on flying micro-robots that get their power from the environment - or a laser beam they find.

The robots would be less than 1mm across and propelled by fluttering wings like a butterfly.
They are manufactured using micro-electromechanical system technology, MEMS. The micro-machining process consists of etching from silicon and selectively plating to make the robot's shape.
Once made the robots would be launched by energizing them with a laser.

The ultimate goal of the project is to make controllable micro-sized robots that can be directed to perform a task. Much like having a swarm of gnats - but maybe gnats with cameras and weapons - at your command.

So far, the robots can flap their wings but they cannot fly. But that may be a good thing because they have not figured out how to control them either.

Denninghoff, Daniel J. , Power-Scavenging MEMS Robots

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