'Robot dragonfly' is the smallest and lightest self-navigating drone
The miniature robot weighs just 20g and can fly without human guidance; it could map abandoned buildings or masquerade as a fairy at a theme park
Monday 16 December 2013
A group of Dutch engineers from the Delft University of Technology have created the world’s first Micro Air Vehicle that can fly in any surroundings and automatically avoid obstacles.
Micro Air Vehicles are a specific class of aerial drones nearer in size to insects than airplanes, and the DelFly Explorer is no exception – weighing just 20 grams, or as much as four sheets of A4 paper.
The Explorer’s real innovation though is its unique sensory array; a tiny system that contains two cameras and a computer that allows the bot to navigate autonomously using bincoluar vision. This miniscule setup weighs just four grams.
All the computing power to keep the Explorer flyer happens on-board – there’s no need for the craft to be controlled, and it can take-off by itself, maintain a height and avoiding obstacles for the nine minutes of its battery life.
Other aerial drones are capable of the same feats – stable and autonomous flight – but weigh as much as 50 times more than the Explorer. With this lighter weight comes lower production costs and the ability to be deployed safely in environments with humans.
The team behind the DelFly have imagined a range of uses for their new bots, ranging from the practical (detecting ripe fruit in greenhouses or mapping abandoned buildings) to the whimsical (streaming live video footage at a gig or masquerading as fairies at a theme park).
A time lapsed picture showing the path the DelFly Explorer takes round a room.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Striker's four-month ban for biting an opponent expires on Friday
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
Life & Style blogs
Ebola outbreak: Virus to kill 67,000 in Monrovia by December, claims academic study
Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
Ebola: NYC doctor Craig Spencer tests positive for disease after returning from west Africa
Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
What do the text messages between you and your partner reveal about your relationship?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reading are...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Support Analyst ...
£45000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Datacentre Consultant (Datacentre,...
£45000 per annum + Excellent Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: .NET Develope...