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Watch powerful insect-inspired flying robot

Watch powerful insect-inspired flying robot

Most flying robots, whether they use wings or propellers, have motors and gears – and transmission systems to connect the components together, but these can weigh the robot down and fail in inconvenient situations.

Now, Tim Helps at the University of Bristol, UK, and his colleagues have designed a small robot that uses an electric field – and a droplet of oil that increases the strength of the field – to flap the wings directly, avoiding the need for a motor or a transmission system. This gives to robot a steady power output, slightly better than that of an insect muscle of the same weight.

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