From large military unmanned aircraft to cheap and cheerful quadcopters, drones are becoming increasingly diverse. Now, a robot the size of a fly is set to become the world’s smallest. The robo-fly has a carbon fibre body weighing just 106mg – a fraction of a gram – and a pair of flapping wings powered by electronic ‘muscles.’

While it may be small, it could prove mighty useful as it is designed to be used in search and rescue operations, because it can squeeze through tiny spaces in collapsed rubble. The diminutive drone could also be used to monitor environmental conditions and even pollinate crops in the future. It is powered and controlled using a lightweight tether wire and can perform agile manoeuvres like insects.

The drone finds its balance in the air thanks to a pyramid-shaped light sensor on top of its ‘head’ and it is the first time the technology has been used in a machine so small.

Past models have required external cameras to perform corrective manoeuvres. The Harvard University scientists behind the drone were inspired by insects, which keep their balance by solely relying just on their ‘on-board’ senses.

They based their drone on light-sensitive eyes called ocelli found in bees, flies and other insects which have a single lens like ours. The three ocelli, which is Latin for ‘little eyes’, are on the top of the head and separate from the insects’ compound eyes at the side… see more

source: Dailymail UK