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Untethered Robotic Insects

The 'RoboFly' is Powered By Laser-Derived Electric Power

— May 21, 2018 — Tech
A group of engineers and designers behind the famed 'RoboBee' robotic bee have now gone ahead and developed a brand new robotic insect dubbed 'RoboFly,' that is unique in that it is capable of flying without the need for a tether.

The RoboFly robotic insect does this thanks to a laser-powered mechanism in which a laser is focused on a special photovoltaic cell situated atop the robot. The energy from the laser light is then converted to electric power, which the robot's circuit uses to power its wing-flapping motion. While the current iteration of the RoboFly can take off and land, future versions will be able to fly whilst receiving continuous laser power.

This compact and eco-friendly flying robot could offer a wide variety of applications in industrial settings, and could be used to detect pipe leaks or delve into heavy pipelines and machinery in search of defects.
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