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Fly, Robot Fly
April 1, 2008

Don’t swat—it’s a robotic fly! Or it could be one, soon, if Robert Wood and his colleagues at Harvard University have their way. These engineers have mastered the art of miniaturizing; they’ve invented a new way to make small joints and craft tiny but durable wings for the next generation of robots—those that can fit in the palm of a hand, with features as small as one micrometer long.

Dr. Wood hopes that these low-cost, agile flying robots will revolutionize rescue operations, for example by flying into a collapsed building in search of survivors. Dr. Wood’s creation is the first man-made machine the size of a normal fly to take flight on its own.

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