Insect-sized drones soon in the air -
Researchers at Harvard University, MIT and the City University of Hong Kong have succeeded in reducing the size of the drones, while maintaining good resistance to shocks and gusts of wind.
It was by drawing inspiration from nature and more particularly from insects that they managed to drastically reduce the size of drones.
To achieve this, the researchers opted for lighter materials, but above all more flexible to give life to their machines.
Thus, the central part of the device, the flexible actuator, is made of rubber and a carbon nanotube which, when subjected to an electrostatic force, exerts pressure and stretching of the rubber causing the rubber to beat. wings of the drone.
And despite the small size of the device - 5 mm -, it withstands certain shocks thanks to its flexible and non-rigid actuator.
"You can hit it when it flies, and it can recover," said one of the researchers behind the insect drone.
If the small size of the machine is already a revolution in itself, the concept is still far from optimal.
To fly, it requires an external power source, as can be seen on the presentation video.
Unlike traditional drones, insect drones do not carry an engine with them.
It is for this reason that they can be so small, but they require an external source of energy.
Despite this, they are nonetheless promising.
Eventually, researchers hope they can be used to inspect machines or artificially pollinate crops, once they are improved.
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