Robots and other drones have made huge strides in recent years. We see examples of this very regularly. Here is a new creation, very impressive, in the world of the very small.
In terms of drones, we are quite used to seeing devices of a fairly compact size, a few tens of centimeters, for personal or professional use. However, some drones are larger than large planes, while others are as small as insects. This is the case with this latest creation.
These insect drones are very impressive
If you can make really small drones, they won’t be able to be noticed by those you want to spy on, for example. That being said, the downside with very small drones is that you have to make concessions on a number of aspects. In particular, it must be done without an engine. In other words, these tiny devices are much less efficient and controllable than drones with motors.
Without a motor, they can even withstand certain shocks
However, researchers at Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Techology (MIT) and the Municipal University of Hong Kong have come up with a drone design directly inspired by insects and which appears to be just as efficient. This is largely due to the flexible actuators made with rubber cylinders and coated with carbon nanotubes.
These nanotubes, when subjected to an electrical voltage, will come to press and stretch the rubber to help these insect drones to operate their wings and fly. These drones are extremely small, but that’s the point. By making them this small, they could penetrate very small spaces, spaces inaccessible to conventional drones. These flying robots can also resist collisions, they are indeed able to withstand impacts, to a certain extent.
Still, these drones are still far from perfect in their current form. Indeed, with this design, the device must be connected by a wire to a power source. Which, you will agree, significantly limits the interest of its miniaturization. Still, this creation is very promising. Researchers are currently hoping that their insect drones can be used to inspect complex machines or even artificially pollinate crops.
To be continued.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.