Researchers at Stanford University's Bio-X program have developed a robot that uses machine vision to catch and sort tiny little fruit flies much faster than a human can.
Using a beam of infrared light that is invisible to the fruit fly, which is an important model of genetic research, the robot is able to identify individual insects by the pattern reflected off their thorax. A mild amount of suction is then applied to the thorax through a tiny straw, lifting the fly without having to use anesthesia.
Once the fly is restrained, the robot can identify its gender and various physical preparations, and can even prepare microdissections.
Ultimately, the use of machine vision and high robotic technology in this robot ensures that scientists can spend more time on doing scientific research rather than catching fruit flies.