Robots Podcast interviews Harvard insect-drone team

The great Robots Podcast is especially worth listening to this week. From the description:

Robots: Controlled Flight of Insect-sized Robots - mp3

In this episode we hear from researchers at the Harvard Microrobotics Lababout the Science paper published today reporting on the first controlled flight of an insect-sized robot. The amazing high-speed video below shows the robot taking off, hovering in place and steering left and right. This work is part of theRobobees project that aims to make swarms of insect robots. You can read our full coverage on Robohub.


Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon and Sawyer Fuller
Kevin Ma and Pakpong Chirarattananon are graduate student researcher at the Harvard Microrobotics Lab working with Prof. Robert Wood (listen to Wood’s podcast here). Kevin studies the design and manufacturing of very small-scale robots while Pakpong’s work focuses on flight control strategies for flapping wing robots. Sawyer Fuller is a postdoctoral researcher with experience in the control and sensing of biological and robotic flies.

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Comment by W. Joe Taylor on May 4, 2013 at 5:30pm
Great post Chris,
I met Dr. Wood in SanDiego in 2007 at the IROS convention right after he published the paper on this design. I am glad to see it finally hovering & flying. If he can just get a reliable micro energy source... It looks like he has a flight controller on board, perhaps. Maybe Dr Roland Sigward's team at the Swiss federal institute can give him a nano camera system too.
Comment by Jack Crossfire on May 4, 2013 at 7:15pm

Making it autonomous would take some bare die microchip fabrication & some energy storage fabrication.  You could build the fuselage out of a silicon plate etched with all the required electronics, have a solar panel powered by a high intensity laser.  It's more stuff that's technically possible, but needs a lot more money than a makerbot costs or crowdsourcers are willing to fund.

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