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Wireless RoboFly Spreads Its Wings and Flies Solo

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AUTUM C. PYLANT, NEWS EDITOR, autum.pylant @photonics.com

Slightly heavier than a toothpick and powered by a laser beam, an insect-sized flying robot could help survey crop growth and sniff out gas leaks. These miniaturized drones, which soar by fluttering tiny wings rather than by rotating propellers, use their small size as an advantage and are fairly inexpensive to make. RoboFly — created by researchers at the University of Washington (UW) — uses a tiny onboard circuit that converts laser energy into enough electricity to operate its wings. To power RoboFly, the engineers point an invisible laser beam (shown here in red...Read full article

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