AeroVironment has created a tiny, mechanical, flying bird that borrows from the natural movements of the hummingbird. The Nano Hummingbird is a flying robot created through a program sponsored by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) that is meant to be used in future indoor and outdoor surveillance missions. DARPA has requested a remote-controlled Nano Air Vehicle that can fly, hover, move forward and backward and be controlled without an external power source. AeroVironment’s Nano Hummingbird does all of that and more.

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DARPA specifically asked AeroVironment to create a flying robot that had the body and wings of a bird and what better bird to use than the agile and tiny hummingbird? AeroVironment employed biomimicry at a very small scale to create the bot, which flies just like the real thing. It can travel forward at 11 miles an hour, resist the side swipe of a 5 mph wind gust while hovering without being thrown more than a meter off track and can be controlled by a distant operator using only the information from an on-board camera.

The Nano Hummingbird was named One of Time Magazine’s 50 best inventions of 2011. This isn’t the only flying robot that DARPA is investing in; they’ve recently released information about cyborg insects that will be used for future surveillance missions made in partnership with a team of researchers from the University of Michigan.

+ AeroVironment

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