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‘Pop Up’ Technique Could Mass Produce Insect-Like Drones

Using an idea similar to that of a child’s pop-up book, Harvard scientists have come up with a technique that could be the future of mass-producing insect-like drones.

The Daily Mail reports that the Harvard developers created tiny robots – we’re talking 2.4mm tall — out of sheets composed of carbon fiber, plastic film, titanium brass and ceramics that are laser cut with a design. When “activated” the sheet pops up and together into an insect with wings. The template being less than the size of a quarter, many of the robots could be produced from a single sheet.

(Related: Nano drone swarm shows off slightly creep formation skills)

Harvard Researchers Develop Pop Up Insect Template With Mass Production Potential

Harvard Researchers Develop Pop Up Insect Template With Mass Production Potential

The Daily Mail has more on the design concept:

The 18-layer structure incorporates flexible hinges that allow the three-dimensional product—just 2.4 millimeters tall—to assemble in one movement, like a pop-up book.

The Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory has been working for years to build bio-inspired, bee-sized robots that can fly and behave autonomously as a colony.

“We can generate full systems in any three-dimensional shape,’ says Professor Robert Wood. “We’ve also demonstrated that we can create self-assembling devices by including pre-stressed materials.”

“In a larger device, you can take a robot leg, for example, open it up, and just bolt in circuit boards. We‘re so small that we don’t get to do that.”

Here the developers explain the (Note: Zip to 2:53 to see the pop up in action; at 4:09 the wings begin to buzz):

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