This robotic insect is the first to fly independently from a power source and potentially is able to help humans find sources of pollution faster and safer than traditional methods.

This is one flying insect you don’t want to swat. It doesn’t bite, sting or spread disease. In fact, someday it could be a life- and climate-saver. In time, it could even be used to survey crops, detect wildfires, poke around in disaster rubble searching for survivors and sniff out gas leaks, especially global warming-fueling methane, a powerful greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide. Engineers power RoboFly by pointing a laser beam at a photovoltaic cell (blue) above the robot. Image: Mark Stone, University of Washington It’s the first robotic flying insect that lifts off without […]


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