Robofly takes off

Various researchers have spent years developing robotic insects, including some that might someday fly through the air, detecting biotoxins and conducting remote surveillance. Harvard University engineer Robert Wood's robotic fly is the first that's actually taken off. The 60 fly milligram robofly has a three centimeter wingspan and achieves lift using wing motions modeled on a real fly. Currently, the fly lacks a control system so its maiden voyage required a tether. From Technology Review:
 Files 11588 Fly Robot X220 "Nature makes the world's best fliers," says Wood...

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding Wood's research in the hope that it will lead to stealth surveillance robots for the battlefield and urban environments. The robot's small size and fly-like appearance are critical to such missions. "You probably wouldn't notice a fly in the room, but you certainly would notice a hawk," Wood says.

• UC Berkeley's micro-mechanical flying insect Link