Tuesday, 14 May, 2013 Technology

10 Robotic Insects


Check out some of the most interesting miniature robots that were inspired from real insects. They were developed to achieve various goals, from pure entertainment to spying.


Developed by a team of researchers from Harvard University, this controllable micro air vehicle dubbed the Robobee represents a small robot that can take off using its own power. With the help of two control actuators located under its wings, it is possible to program the robotic insect to pitch and roll.

It would be interesting to note that the wings of the robot flap at 120 times per second. Last year the team started developing a feedback controller that would make it possible for the robot to yaw, which in combination with pitch and roll would allow the robot to hover.

[via Harvard Robobees]


A group of researchers from Georgia Tech managed to come up with a robotic four-winged ornithopter dubbed the TechJect Dragonfly. The robotic insect is so small it fits in your palm. The list of invention's features includes the mix flight capabilities of a quadricopter, helicopter, as well as a fixed wing aircraft.

It would be interesting to note that the Dragonfly is the final result of a project that lasted 4 years, and funded by the U.S. Air Force. The latter decided to give away US$1 million. It is worth mentioning that TechJect represents a spinoff out of Georgia Tech's Robotics & Intelligent Machines (RIM) Department, created with the goal of delivering the Dragonfly along with other flying robots to market.

[via TechJect]


A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, led by Duncan Haldane, have been carrying out studies on the six-legged pests in order to come up with better millirobots. One of their latest inventions is the VelociRoACH. The main material used in building the robot is cardboard. The invention is 10 cm long, but that doesn't impede it to run 2.7 meters per second, which makes it the fastest robot of its size. In just 1 second it can cover 26 times its body length.

[via UC Berkeley Biomimetic Millisystems Lab]


Having the goal of analyzing the ability of animals to move elegantly and using that knowledge to build robots with similar abilities, a group of researchers from the University of Bielefeld's Center of Excellence 'Cognitive Interaction Technology' (CITEC) decided to come up with a hexapod walking robot. The machine is dubbed HECTOR, which is short for Hexapod Cognitive autonomously Operating Robot, and it boasts movements similar to a stick insect. Researchers will use the robot in various tests and projects at different departments of the University.

[via Plastic Pals]

Hexapod Quadcopter

This robot features a carbon fiber frame, and it makes use of 6 rotors to maintain aerial stability. Authors of this invention are members of a team at Mad Lab Industries. They assembled the flying robot just for fun. However, the more you observe the Hexapod move, the more you understand that such machines can someday become a standard.

[via MadLabIndustries ]


This open source quadcopter was created by a team of Swedish developers. Its main feature is the ability to fly just like a real insect. It is operated via a PS3 controller. Another interesting feature is the compact camera installed on the robot that sends video back to the user's computer. The robot can also be charged wirelessly. To give it a more sci-fi look, the developers also added a detachable LED lamp to the robotic quadcopter.

[via ScienceNordic ]


This robot represents a small remote-controlled roach. Despite the fact that the robotic roach cannot do anything but simply crawl around, it does so very realistically, resembling a real roach. The robot has a small antennae and light installed at its back to produce a more striking effect. Gokiraji can be charged via USB. This robot is truly interesting to play with.

[via JTT]

Swallowtail Butterfly

Created by a team of Japanese researchers, this robotic swallowtail butterfly not only looks very cool, it also has the same size as the real thing. In addition, the life-size "ornithopter", according to the developers, can be widely used in the field of aerodynamics. Besides being able to copy the exact size and shape of the swallowtail's wings, researchers also managed to reproduce the thin membranes and veins that cover these wings. The goal was to prove that a flying robot can fly forward with flapping alone, and there's no need to use feedback system to control the movement.

[via Bioinspiration & Biomimetics]


This invention of Israeli researchers represents a butterfly-shaped drone that weights only 20 grams. It was developed with the goal of collecting intelligence inside buildings. According to Israel Hayom it is able to take color photos and perform vertical take-off. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) says that the robot can be used in ground clashes – the soldier would only need to take the drone out of a pocket and send it to the destination point.

It would be interesting to note that the tiny drone is equipped with a 0.15-gram camera and memory card, and is remotely controlled with the help of a special helmet. When the user puts the helmet on, they can see what the robot sees in real time.

[via RT]


DASH, short for Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod, represents a high-speed six-legged runner that one can easily build in an hour or so (cardboard and polymer sheets are used to make the frame). The authors of this invention are Paul Birkmeyer and Prof. Ronald Fearing at the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at UC Berkeley. DASH weights only 16 grams and features a single DC motor that generates power to move the robot's legs. With the help of a small servomotor the robot can slightly deform its body, which allows it to turn left or right. Maximum speed that DASH can reach is 1.5 meters per second. In addition, it is tough enough to resist a drop from a height of 28 meters.

[via SingularityHub]

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