the first wireless flying robotic insect takes off powered by laser beams

the first wireless flying robotic insect takes off powered by laser beams

robotic insects of the future have lift off and this time there’s no need being tethered to the ground (remember robobee?). researchers at the university of washington have found a way of transmitting power to their much beloved robofly via laser beams, eliminating the need for a separate power supply.

the first wireless flying robotic insect takes off powered by laser beams

images courtesy of university of washington/mark stone



robofly is the weight of a toothpick and uses a tiny onboard circuit that converts the energy of an invisible laser beamed directly onto an onboard photovoltaic cell. the circuit boosts the power of the electricity generated at this point from seven volts to 240, enough to operate its wings.

the first wireless flying robotic insect takes off powered by laser beams



as well as cutting the cord researchers have added a brain, allowing the robotic insect to fly independently. the micro-controller acts like a real fly’s brain telling wing muscles when to fire,’ said co-author vikram iyer. ‘on robofly, it tells the wings things like ‘flap hard now’ or ‘don’t flap.’

the first wireless flying robotic insect takes off powered by laser beams



before now, the concept of wireless insect-sized flying robots was science fiction. would we ever be able to make them work without needing a wire?‘ said co-author sawyer fuller, an assistant professor in the UW department of mechanical engineering.our new wireless RoboFly shows they’re much closer to real life.’ the team is set to present its findings on may 23 at the international conference on robotics and automation in brisbane, australia.

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    technology news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    503,283 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine