The Breakthrough

Last year saw the development of compact, bee-like robots that were capable of flying around and pollinating crops last year. This year, the same robots are able to swing and dive underwater, making them an invaluable tool for search and rescue missions. The RoboBee was first created with the role of providing stealth surveillance for the military, and it's initial funding was provided by DARPA in an effort to create a literal "fly on the wall." The robot weighs only 100 mg, and must crash-land into the water in order to break the surface tension of the water.

 

Watch the mini-robot break the surface tension of the water
The Implications

Besides being able to replace bees as a pollinator, these robot flies can now be used as a system to explore hazardous environments and conduct surveillance. Using this technology in search-and-rescue missions would be invaluable and helps to minimize the risk to emergency personnel. At present, this mini-robot is still in the the early stages of development and requires additional testing to be useful in real-world conditions.

 


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