A new type of flying robot is so tiny and lightweight — it weighs about as much as a toothpick — it can perch on your finger. The little flitter is also capable of untethered flight and is powered by lasers.
This is a big leap forward in the design of diminutive airborne bots, which are usually too small to support a power source and must trail a lifeline to a distant battery in order to fly, engineers who built the new robot announced in a statement.
Their insect-inspired creation is dubbed RoboFly, and like its animal namesake, it sports a pair of delicate, transparent wings that carry it into the air. But unlike its robot precursors, RoboFly ain’t got no strings to hold it down. Instead, the miniature bot uses a lightweight onboard circuit to convert laser light into enough electrical power to send it soaring.