Researchers at the Technical University Delft will present the smallest flying flapping robot carrying a camera today. With a wing span of just 10 centimeters and weighing in at a mere 3.07 grams, the remote controlled dragonfly is half the size of Borneo's Tetracanthagyna plagiata dragon flies.
The video below shows the DelFly Micro's first test flight indoors. The smaller picture in the bottom right corner shows video data transmitted from the robot in-flight to a ground station. Using image recognition software developed by the DelFly team, objects can then be recognized automatically. This may allow the robot be operated from - or by - a computer.
Guido de Croon, developer of the vision-based control system of the DelFly, already has applications in mind. When a university building burnt-out recently he thought of his team's MAVs: "Since there was some risk of collapse, people could not enter it, and we proposed to attempt to fly into it with the DelFly or a quad-rotor." With the new DelFly Micro still in development, a quad-rotor was deployed to survey the site, but was found too large to enter the building. "Unfortunately, we did not succeed in getting in," De Croon explains, "However, we did gain some experience in what problems one can encounter in such a situation."