Tuesday, January 22, 2008

DARPA Spy Fly Takes Flight At Harvard

Robotic Insect Takes Off
By Rick Weiss
MIT Technology Review

Researchers have created a robotic fly for covert surveillance.

A life-size, robotic fly has taken flight at Harvard University. Weighing only 60 milligrams, with a wingspan of three centimeters, the tiny robot's movements are modeled on those of a real fly.

"Nature makes the world's best fliers," says Robert Wood, leader of Harvard's robotic-fly project and a professor at the university's school of engineering and applied sciences.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding Wood's research in the hope that it will lead to stealth surveillance robots for the battlefield and urban environments. The robot's small size and fly-like appearance are critical to such missions. "You probably wouldn't notice a fly in the room, but you certainly would notice a hawk," Wood says.

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