Robots inspired by nature: the "DelFly" bionic robot (photo)


38 Responses to “Robots inspired by nature: the "DelFly" bionic robot (photo)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, folks for reminding me of the Danny Dunn books. I loved them as a kid. Oddly enough I remembered ISIT and the HIG (mentioned in passing in one of the early books) but had forgotten all about Danny, Irene, Joe and Prof. Bullfinch.

  2. MrScience says:

    YES!! I signed in to submit just such an association with the amazing Danny Dunn series. It’s hard to believe books that were so important to me as a youth are finally coming to life. What an amazing world we live in.

    bcsizemo, I suspect when they do finally make a robotic carpenter bee, you’ll have the same statement.. “Hey, they were bound to get here eventually. Call me when it’s a small as a gnat!”

    Most strides in science and industry are incremental… Only once an area hits a milestone that can be easily comprehended by the public does it tend to get the limelight. I think this tends to give the public the false impression that science is all about the big breakthroughs.


    See also: Festo SmartBird. It’s astonishing and I’m pretty hard to astonish.

  4. vreiner says:

    Hunter-seeker from Dune?

  5. jeligula says:

    Why is it called bionic? It is wholly constructed of manufactured parts, which precludes its qualification as bionic.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just a remark – at the first picture it is NOT the DelFly Micro, it is a similar ornitopther developed by Chiba University in Japan (

    DelFly was also presented at the workshop, but it was one of the larger models…

  7. jphilby says:

    Maybe it’s the times, but when I see that I think “won’t be long until some asshole gives these things a way to charge-up on sunlight and reproduce in the wild.” Talk about surveillance.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I want one of that robots!

  9. Sam says:

    Is there a cockroach glued in there or something? Does it count as bionic if it doesn’t have any living bits?

    • Sam says:

      Apparently not. At least according to wikipedia, bionics is “is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology” . Also known as anything we’ve ever created ever. Good stuff.

  10. surfstuff55 says:

    Patricia Conwell’s latest book is centered on such as this

    • Talia says:

      Yeah I came here to comment on Cornwell’s novel as well. It’s particularly neat seeing these photos after having read that book.

      She did say in the forward all the technology she talked about was real.

  11. nixiebunny says:

    If it follows the trend of everything else electromechanical these days, it can be made 20% smaller every year, so it will eventually be the size of a mosquito.

    • bcsizemo says:

      Yes 20% smaller, and just as easily damaged/defeated.

      I’ll be more impressed when they show me a robotic carpenter bee that can move and accelerate/hover like they can.

      (They can build a hummingbird first if they’d like.)

      Then I’d think this is impressive. Here they have just taken the ultralight weight free flight crowds methodology and put tiny motors on it.

      -oh and a camera.

  12. Anonymous says:

    biotic ≠ bionic

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to see one of these laden with a coconut.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Can I get James Bond on the line?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Whimsically delightful!

  16. Donald Petersen says:

    I can hear the very thoughts within the head of the bespectacled student: a decidedly Nimoyesque “Fascinating.”

  17. Patrick Dodds says:

    The photo heading this post is lovely.

  18. tylerkaraszewski says:

    This thing is awesome and I’m actually kind of surprised at the Orwellian fears in the comments.

    • Flying_Monkey says:

      So you think a response that this is ‘awesome’ is a better demonstration of critical thought than understanding the purprose of biomimetic MAVs?

    • Zoman says:

      You are right, it’s ridiculous. Everybody knows that Orwellian dystopia is already here. The transition away from personal privacy and anything resembling democracy happened some time ago.

  19. asuffield says:

    Demonstrating profound crudeness, my first thought was “who’s the girl? she’s hot”.

    Won’t be long before these things are self-piloting, carry a long lens, and can follow people around outdoors.

  20. tylerkaraszewski says:

    I would like to see a video of it flying.

  21. Tarek says:

    and the onboard view from the previous video:

  22. Anonymous says:

    What i sthe distinction between a robot and a remote controlled machine?

  23. Flying_Monkey says:

    Biomimetic rather than bionic.

    As for the lovely picture, yes, but I can’t help thinking that they don’t realise they are watching one of the first steps in a new generation of technologies of control.

  24. hadlock says:

    That’s an impressive autofocus that camera is using.

  25. PBryden says:

    Fantastic, insectivore based robots! I’d love to see one of these as a kit at Maker Shed. Although I am sure it wasn’t easy to build, it certainly appears that the materials should all be readily available.

  26. forgeweld says:

    Incredibly useful development step for the kind of creatures President-for-Eternity Bionic Dick Cheney will hunt on the scorched, lifeless, post-apocalyptic landscape.

  27. Zoman says:

    I for one welcome our new robotic insectoid avatars.

    Question though… if I get swatted while linked to my insect – would I die in real life?

  28. Simon Bradshaw says:

    I thought this sounded familiar, then I remembered Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy. Virtual-reality enabled telepresence via micro-UAV, in a 1974 young-adult sf novel!

    (And I see from that Wiki page that a lot of other people have made the connection.)

Leave a Reply