RoboBee is a small flapping-wing robot modeled on one of the busiest and most useful insects of all time: the bee. The goal is to create a colony of robotic bees that mimic the behavior of real bees.
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One type of RoboBee is completely printable, assembling itself out of a sequence of flat layers like a pop-up book.
RoboBee was developed by a team of researchers led by Prof. Robert J. Wood at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory. The project began in the laboratory of Wood's then-advisor, Ronald S. Fearing, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and later migrated to Harvard. The insectlike robots Woods and his colleagues are creating are intended to perform search and reconnaissance operations, especially where humans can't go. For inspiration, the researchers focused on the two-winged insects of the order Diptera, which includes houseflies, hoverflies, and fruit flies. Over the years, as the robot's hardware and control improved, the Harvard team demonstrated RoboBee steering in midair, landing and swimming in water, hovering and pivoting, and flying untethered while powered by lasers and solar cells.