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.