Flight of the (Robotic Spy Drone) Bumblebee

Harvard researchers have spent the past five years developing a robotic bee, and while it may never serve as a backup for whatever's wiping out colonies across the country, it could serve as an inconspicuous alternative to spy drones. Particularly now that they've figured out how to steer the tiny winged bots during flight.


As is demonstrated in this high speed video, the researchers haven't quite refined the Robobee to the point where it can be controlled with the same finess as an RC helicopter. But thanks to the addition of tiny actuators located under its wings, after takeoff it can now pitch and roll in a pre-determined direction. Which is a vast improvement over previous versions of the bot which would just take off in random directions and immediately crash. Eventually the researchers hope the Robobee could be released in swarms to efficiently pollenate a crop. But also serve as tiny drones for everything from search and rescue missions, to covert surveillance, to just keeping an eye on traffic conditions. [Robobees via Automaton]



Looks like they just took a bunch of videos of it rolling in random directions, labelled them, and pretended they decided in advance which way to turn.

Let me know when it can actually carry *any* payload, like the gyroscope it will need to ever be able to do more than immediately crash. And the battery. And the cpu. And a camera.