Dragonfly inspires UBC robotics team

Engineers hope to create tiny robotic dragonfly for surveillance, search-and-rescue purposes.

Engineers in British Columbia are creating a tiny robotic dragonfly that could act as a literal fly on the wall.

Researchers plan to build a robot with two sets of wings, weighing less than a dime.

Electrical and computer engineering Professors John Madden and Joseph Yan of the University of British Columbia paired up for the experiment.

The scientists are studying how to use high-tech plastics mimicking human muscle in designing robots.

They say the military is interested in using the bug for surveillance purposes. The insect-like robots could also be used for search-and-rescue jobs in hazardous environments.

Researchers in California have flown larger-scale bird-like robots. Battery and microtransmitter technologies can provide a power source and means of communication.

Madden and Yan are in the process of creating a motor to power the wings. Before they can do that, they need to figure out how to mimic insect flight.

They hope to have a working bug flying around within five years.