The world’s smallest free-flying device has successfully flown. The DARPA-commissioned nano-air-vehicle flew TK without external support:
Aeronvironment has released a video that shows its “nano air vehicle” (NAV), which is the size of a small bird or large insect, hovering indoors without such crutches and under radio control. “It is capable of climbing and descending vertically, flying sideways left and right, as well as forward and backward, under remote control,” says the company….
Their ultimate ask is a ten-gram aircraft with a 7.5cm wingspan, which can carry a camera and explore caves and other potential hiding places. “It will need to fly at 10 metres per second and withstand 2.5-metre-per-second gusts of wind”
The micro-ornithopter/robot-insect concept has plenty of precedants in science fiction, and is another example of engineers borrowing from nature to solve engineering problems.
[from New Scientist, via Wired UK][image from ubergizmo]