Miracle Air Vehicle
Perhaps the most far-out concept in The Gecko’s Foot is the Micro Air Vehicle (MAV). This is a robot fly or bee intended to fly into restricted spaces and relay video back to control. The MAV would use flapping flight and have to be self-orientating. I was worried about this one. The idea was intrinsically appealing and, given the progress of chip miniaturization and micro-fabrication, I didn’t doubt that it was possible. But for a few years nothing much seemed to happen. But now papers are coming thick and fast and the first such robot fly, from Robert J Wood’s lab flew this year. Another team has tried to trump this by attaching a chip to a beetle which enables human control of the beetle’s movements. Which will triumph – the hi-jacked insect or the fully synthetic robot? Wait and see. Meanwhile, you can see how Wood’s team fabricate the Harvard Monolithic Bee:
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I'm a writer whose interests include the biological revolution happening now, the relationship between art and science, jazz, and the state of the planet