Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable

RoboFly is a Laser-Powered Robot Insect by University of Washington. It's design is based on the RoboBee flapping-wing microrobot from Harvard’s MicroRobotics Lab.

It's about the size of a bumblebee, and weighs just 190 milligrams (a bit more than a toothpick). It’s powered by an infrared laser aimed at that tiny little photovoltaic cell, which can harvest the 250 mW required to get the robot airborne. In the video, the laser doesn’t track the robot, so as soon as the solar cell moves out of the beam, it loses power and the robot stops flying.


(Don't swat RoboFly!)

The biggest hurdle for making cordless tiny robots was figuring out how to store the power that keeps them aloft. Flapping takes a lot of energy, so the equipment needed to hold enough power on minuscule devices would be so big that there would be no point in having such a tiny bot at all.

So the RoboFly traded a cable for a laser beam. Laser power constantly feeds energy to the robot from far away, so there’s no wire and no bulky battery.

RoboFly’s back has a solar cell that, when hit with a laser, converts light to electricity. Then, a circuit amps the power up to 240 volts — enough for flight. That same circuit also holds a basic computer called a microcontroller. This command center sends the voltage out in waves that stimulate different flapping speeds. Together, the solar cell, circuit, and metal fly body weigh about as much as a toothpick.

Technovelgy readers are of course familiar with the amazing scarab robot flying insect from Raymond Z. Gallun's 1936 story The Scarab.

Via Futurism.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/13/2018)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.' - Otfrid von Hanstein, 1935.

Jetson-Style Clockwork Robot Nail Salon Coming To Target Near You
The Jetson's imagined so much future.

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.' - Christopher Stasheff, 1969.

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.' - Harry Harrison, 1970.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Jetson-Style Clockwork Robot Nail Salon Coming To Target Near You
The Jetsons imagined so much future.

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
'Jimmy Cardigan and Harlowe, staring through the darkside port, had their feet in the foot-loops...'

Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
'But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry
'A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-M’Lou in and out of the atmosphere...'

MarsCat and MetaCat, Your Robot Cat Companions
'It was you who betrayed me — you and your robot cat.'

Mars Mission Using Nuclear Thermal Propulsion
'with its atomic engine as noiseless as a dancing sunbeam...'

Physiotherapists Get Help From Robots
'Most of the Members went into cold-rest; the others tended them...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.