- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
- U.N. rights chief: Flight MH17 downing possible war crime
- Attack on park in Gaza war kills 10, mostly children
Harvard scientists make robot insect; it took 12 years and flew 12 seconds
Question of the Day
Harvard scientists have succeeded in building a flying robot insect, smaller than a penny and weighing less than one-tenth of a gram -- it took them 12 years and the robot is powered and controlled by a wire from a base station.
A peer-reviewed paper published Friday in the prestigious journal "Science" documents the achievement, which is judged considerable because of the, ahem, scale of the engineering challenges.
The remote-controlled flying robot, dubbed RoboBee, has wafer-thin wings less than a centimeter long that beat 120 times a second.
Building motors so small that run so fast, explained lead RoboBee builder Prof. Robert J. Woods, was only made possible by "recent breakthroughs in manufacturing, materials, and design" at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
"Large robots can run on electromagnetic motors, but at this small scale you have to come up with an alternative, and there wasn't one," added his collaborator Kevin Y. Ma, a graduate student at the school.
Prof. Wood and Mr. Ma, along with Pakpong Chirarattananon and Sawyer B. Fuller, wrote the "Science" paper.
"We demonstrated tethered but unconstrained stable hovering and basic controlled flight maneuvers," the authors state.
"This is what I have been trying to do for literally the last 12 years," said Prof. Wood in a statement.
The prototype RoboBee is tethered to a base station by a very fine cable because there are not as yet any batteries for power or computers for control small enough to be mounted on its body.
The scientists say there are many more breakthroughs needed before the RoboBee will be able to fly independently. Eventually, they believe the robots will be able to help the real bees with crop pollination.
Click here to see a video of the robotic insect.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Scott Pinsker
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. police chief orders officers not to arrest legal gun owners carrying weapons in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- DeSean Jackson working on offensive cohesiveness with Redskins teammates
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq