This tiny, flying robot flaps its wings 30 times per second—just like a real hummingbird—and will one day save lives by searching for survivors in wreckage and spots not easily accessible by humans.

So far, the development of this hummingbird has cost $2.1 million and that number's growing. Japanese researchers are hoping to make the robot hover at a point in mid-air—just like the bird which inspired it—as they control it using infrared sensors. Once they manage that and add a tiny camera, they imagine that the robot will "be used to help rescue people trapped in destroyed buildings, search for criminals or even operate as a probe vehicle on Mars."


A space-exploring, human-saving, crime-stopping robot bird? Brilliant. [PhysOrg via Engadget]