ROBOT: Professor Creates Miniature Mechanical Housefly

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Fri Nov 30 2001 - 06:09:57 MST

Robo-Fly Takes Off
It's all a lot more complicated than it might seem. After all, it wasn't until
a few years ago that researchers first figured out the precise series of wing
movements that enable a fly to fly.
"Some of it is that there's the thought that, just by understanding the
aerodynamics that are used in flies, there could be other applications, maybe
even in large-scale devices," Fearing said. "Our Office of Naval Research
sponsor is quite interested in thinking about flies for military applications.
So there's a bunch of things you could think of in terms of surveillance, etc.
that would potentially be an application for this device."
Fearing is already thinking ahead for future applications of his research into
the robo-fly. One is to build small robots for medical purposes.
"These robots will be about 5 millimeters in diameter and able to do
operations inside people using minimal invasive surgery techniques," he said.
"These are techniques where you have a tube, and on them will be a small robot
gripper or small robot wrist. So we could be able to suture or probe or do
cutting operations. It turns out that the same technology we're developing for
the fly will allow us to build surgical robots at this very small scale as

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We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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