The progess in robotics is relentless. Compared to the 2 billion years of evolution for DNA-based designs, robots are turbo-charged with design cycles lasting months not millenia.
A prototype robot spy "ornithopter," the Nano-Hummingbird, has successfully completed flight trials in California. Developed by the company AeroVironment Inc., the miniature spybot looks like a hummingbird complete with flapping wings, and is only slightly larger and heavier than most hummingbirds, but smaller than the largest species. ...
The ornithopter can fly into buildings under the control of an operator flying the spybot with the help of a feed from its tiny video camera. The prototype is capable of flying at speeds of up to 18 km/h (11 mph) and weighs 19 grams, which is about the same as an AA battery. ...
The spybot was developed for the US military's research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The hummingbird appearance is intended to disguise the bot, although it would look decidedly out of place and would attract attention in most places in the world since hummingbirds are not found outside of the Americas.
DARPA's head of the Nano Air Vehicles (NAV) program. Dr Todd Hylton, said the successful flight tests pave the way for new vehicles that resemble small birds and match their agility. The new drone is a departure from existing NAVs, which in the past have always resembled helicopters or planes.
Friday, February 18, 2011
A Flying Robot
Here's an interesting video and article of a recent DARPA project to make a robot the flies like a hummingbird. The video has an external camera giving a wide shot of the parking lot and an inset video shows the view from a camera embedded in the robot: