'For many years we have been discussing the arrival of drones that are designed to mimic nature. The concept of insect drones, however, dates back much further into the 1970s when a dragonfly drone was created by the CIA.
Curiously enough, the dragonfly structure was, at the time, thought to be more efficient than the bumblebee drone they had been working on. As stated by IEEE Spectrum,
In the 1970s the CIA had developed a miniature listening device that needed a delivery system, so the agency’s scientists looked at building a bumblebee to carry it. They found, however, that the bumblebee was erratic in flight, so the idea was scrapped. An amateur entymologist on the project then suggested a dragonfly and a prototype was built that became the first flight of an insect-sized machine.
So when we hear of newer talks about how RoboBees will help alleviate the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder among our pollinators (like this patent application from Walmart), let’s never forget where all of this began.
RoboBee first took flight back in 2013, which you can see in the following video:
As you can see in that video, the robot is tethered. Now, according to a recent article fromNewScientist, RoboBee is prepared to be released from its tether and should be able to fly free as the upgraded “RoboBee X-Wing” — completely without a built-in power source.'
Read more: RoboBee Insect Drone Does Not Need a Power Source to Take Flight for Surveillance