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This is a $2.1 Million Robot Hummingbird and It Could Save Your Life

Illustration for article titled This is a $2.1 Million Robot Hummingbird and It Could Save Your Life

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.

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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]

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DISCUSSION

Why not just use a helicopter design so it can be made more powerful, carry better cameras and maybe even a survival kit for the stranged survivor while the real chopper comes.

I mean how fast can this thing fly? I can't imagine it covering great distances.

I'm sure its heaps of fun to fly it round the office though and secretly I bet that's what the researchers are doing it for.