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While they don’t yet have on-board sensors, processors, or power, these tiny flying robots are nevertheless a dramatic step forward in the effort to create autonomous flying robots modeled on flies or bees. Part of the Micro Air Vehicles Project (a.k.a. Robobees) of the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory, within the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, in collaboration with the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Both the physical design, which provides the ability to apply torque around all three axis, and the control algorithms were created by a team composed of graduate students Kevin Ma and Pakpong Chirarattananon and postdoc fellow Sawyer Fuller, under the direction of Professor Robert Wood, himself the subject of a previous Robots Podcast episode. They share authorship of the paper Controlled Flight of a Biologically Inspired, Insect-Scale Robot which appeared in the May 3rd issue of Science.
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