Scientists have always been trying to build aerial robots inspired by bees and other flying insects but have always run into the issue of the high energy required for flying. But then here is a flying machine, half the size of a paperclip that could flap its pair of wings 120 times a second.
The laboratory has been working on the RoboBee for a while now. They’ve made it smaller and lighter, and they’ve given it more and more features. RoboBee X-Wing is equipped with four tiny wings made of carbon fiber and polyester and even tinier photovoltaic cells.
The new Robobee X-Wing (named for its 4-wing architecture) achieves a new milestone with the ability to fly with no battery and no laser — only plain full-spectrum light coming from above. Brighter than sunlight, to be fair — but close to real-world conditions.
RoboBee X-Wing is 5 centimeters long and weighs 259 milligrams. At the top are solar cells, and at the bottom are all of the drive electronics you need to boost the trickle of voltage coming out of the solar panels up to the 200 volts that are required to drive the actuators that cause the wings to flap at 200 Hz.