Japanese Researchers Develop Robotic Hummingbird

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This palm-sized robot weighs in at just a tenth of an ounce.

Japanese researchers have given this robotic hummingbird everything it needs to fly: a micro-sized motor, a tiny lithium polymer battery, an infrared receiver, and carbon fiber frames and gears.

The membranes used for its lightweight wings are light in cost, too--the researchers are using plastic shopping bags.

The robot can fly for six minutes and up to 30 feet above ground.

[Hao Liu, Professor, Chiba University]:
"The hummingbird is the only species among birds that can hover in the air, so a robotic hummingbird with the same skill can be used to take pictures of targets from various angles."

The hummingbird is designed to be used in emergency situations.

[Hao Liu, Professor, Chiba University]:
"A small flying robot equipped with a camera can collect information from areas not accessible by humans, such as sites hit by disaster or terrorism."

The design team is expecting to extend the robot's flying time by upgrading the infrared ray’s receiver later this year.

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