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Dutch scientists flap to the future with ‘insect’ drone

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Posted February 24, 2014
A view of the DelFly Explorer, the world's lightest autonomous flapping drone, during a demonstration at the Delft Technical Uni
A view of the DelFly Explorer, the world’s lightest autonomous flapping drone, during a demonstration at the Delft Technical University, on January 29, 2014
Dutch scientists have developed the world’s smallest autonomous flapping drone, a dragonfly-like beast with 3-D vision that could revolutionise our experience of everything from pop concerts to farming.

“This is the DelFly Explorer, the world’s smallest drone with flapping wings that’s able to fly around by itself and avoid obstacles,” its proud developer Guido de Croon of the Delft Technical University told AFP.

Weighing just 20 grammes (less than an ounce), around the same as four sheets of printer paper, the robot dragonfly could be used in situations where much heavier quadcopters with spinning blades would be hazardous, such as flying over the audience to film a concert or sport event.

The Explorer looks like a large dragonfly or grasshopper as it flitters about the room, using two tiny low-resolution video cameras—reproducing the 3-D vision of human eyes—and an on-board computer to take in its surroundings and avoid crashing into things.

And like an insect, the drone which has a wingspan of 28 centimetres (11 inches), would feel at home flying around plants.

Read more at: Phys.org

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