Take a break: RoboBee saves energy with ability to perch

This week’s video comes from the US where an energy saving technique from the natural world is being applied to microrobotics.

This is the aim of experts at Harvard University who have equipped their RoboBee with the ability to perch using an electrode patch and a foam mount that absorbs shock.

When the electrode patch is supplied with a charge, it can stick to surfaces that include glass, wood and leaves. To detach, the power supply is switched off.

The patch is said to require around 1000 times less power to perch than it does to hover, thereby extending the operational life of the robot.

The electrostatic patch is attached to the top of RoboBee, meaning it can only perch under overhangs and on ceilings but the team expects to change the mechanical design so that the robot can perch on any surface.

Pioneered at the Harvard Microrobotics Lab, the RoboBee micro-UAV is being developed for roles including environmental monitoring, search-and-rescue operations or crop pollination.

The rise of the micro air vehicle: Armed forces around the world are increasingly talking of the need for smaller, more agile systems that can be easily transported and operated by troops on the ground. Click here to read more.