The First Untethered RoboBee Makes Its First Flight
This insect-inspired robot is the lightest vehicle to ever achieve sustained flight without a power tether. The new RoboBee X-Wing features an extra pair of wings, improved actuators, and solar cells, and it can fly untethered for a brief period of time. The RoboBee weighs 259 mg – less than a paper clip – and has a wingspan of about 3.5 centimeters. It is powered by tiny solar cells, weighing about 10 milligrams each. It takes less power to fly the RoboBee than it would to light a single bulb on a string of LED Christmas lights. Compared to previous Robobees, this model has a better transmission ratio, improved actuators and an additional par of wings. The changes give the tiny robots enough lift to carry six solar cells and on board electronics. The untethered RoboBee could be used for environmental exploration, search and rescue operations , and much more.