NASA/Victor Tangermann
Fruit Fly Bots

These Tiny “Fruit Fly Bots” Could Explore Distant Planets

byVictor Tangermann
9. 4. 19
NASA/Victor Tangermann

Tiny flying and hopping microrobots could fare much better on Mars than rovers.

Hopping and Flapping

Exploring distant planets with cumbersome rovers comes with countless challenges. But microrobotics could offer a whole new way to reconnoiter alien environments.

A doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley named Palak Bhushan built two tiny robots: a flying one that can flap its tiny wings and weighs just one milligram, and a 75 milligram hopping robot that can jump up to eight millimeters six times per minute.

“One of the very good applications that we see her is for exploration… especially in the context or interplanetary exploration,” Bhushan told Space.com.

Tricky Terrain

Two papers describing of Bhushan’s research were published to the preprint archive arXiv earlier this month.

Advertisement

Thanks to their tiny size and minuscule weight, the robots could make short work of tricky terrain. They could also land in mountainous and rocky regions where much larger rovers are not able to.

Swarming Mars

Theoretically, thousands or tens of thousands of the bots could be sent to the surface of distant planets, greatly improving their chances of survival.

Additionally, tiny flapping-wing robots could fare well in denser atmospheres thanks to much smaller energy requirements for travel. In low density atmospheres like on Mars, a hopping robot could have a much easier time getting around as well.

To make sure they don’t get lost, Bhushan proposes to give the tiny robots a home base aboard a rover to aid in communication.

Advertisement

READ MORE: These Jumping, Flapping Microrobots Could Swarm On Far-Off Worlds [Space.com]

More on tiny robots: Tiny Spies: This Insect-Like Flying Robot is Smaller Than a Penny


As a Futurism reader, we invite you join the Singularity Global Community, our parent company’s forum to discuss futuristic science & technology with like-minded people from all over the world. It’s free to join, sign up now!

Share This Article

Copyright ©, Singularity Education Group All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.