The director of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab builds a better housefly.



SUPERFLY: Fig. A: Robert Wood’s 3-centimeter microrobotic fly is powered by a piezoelectric material that pushes the wings via a hinged transmission.

It’s tempting to see the first-ever flight of a robot insect as a kind of Kitty Hawk moment, clearing the way for all kinds of flying robots, sensor-packing drones, and surveillance bugs buzzing around our personal airspace.

The maiden voyage of the world’s smallest flying robot occurred in March 2007, while researcher Robert Wood was pulling a late work session. The director of the Harvard Microrobotics ...

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