Miniscule robotic drones might be the future, but they’ve been tricky to get off the ground. Until now, any wing-flapping insect robot had to have a power source, making it too heavy to lift off with its tiny wings. Now, however, researchers at the University of Washington have found a way to transmit power to a flying robotic insect (lovingly dubbed RoboFly) via laser, obviating the need for a separate power supply.
The team is set to present its findings in a paper at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane, Australia on May 23rd. “Before now, the concept of wireless insect-sized flying robots was science fiction, said co-author and assistant professor Sawyer Fuller in a statement. “Would we ever be able to make them work without needing a wire? Our new wireless RoboFly shows they’re much closer to real life.”