Article about an insect-sized flying robot for Motherboard

Robotic fly with pyramidal onboard sensor on top

Robotic fly with pyramidal onboard sensor on top

I wrote my first piece for Motherboard, Vice magazine’s online science & technology site. I just happened to find a pitch that worked well for them, and it was fun to write a more technology-related article after a while.

The article is about the first bee-sized robot that can fly using feedback only from an onboard sensor, an important step in creating fully-autonomous insect-sized flying robots.

Like many advanced fighter jets, the researchers’ flying robot requires constant corrective maneuvers to stay upright, and the researchers created an onboard sensor inspired by the light sensors of flying insects. This sensor was able to provide the feedback necessary for their robot to fly stably.

Cool stuff, and it was fun to report on and write 🙂

The same research group is working on many different parallel projects to create all the components necessary to eventually make fully autonomous insect-sized flying robots. As you can imagine, they’re often inspired by flying insects.

Here’s a video of their flying robot, although this was before they developed the onboard sensor:

I’ll include a video of the robot using their new onboard sensor once they’ve posted it on Youtube.

[Updated on 7-22-14]
Here’s their new video:

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