Flying Machine Inspired By Jellyfish

New York University researchers have created a flying machine whose mechanics mimics the way jellyfish move through water. The machine could lead to a new class of tiny, autonomous robots for surveillance, search-and-rescue operations, and traffic and weather monitoring.

The four-winged prototype machine in the GIF below weighs just 0.07 ounces and is a little over 3 inches wide. The wings move up and down similar to the way jellyfish propel themselves through water, but the robot’s movement is more like that of a moth.

The prototype is still attached to a power source and can’t yet steer itself autonomously. However, the engineers’ ultimate goal is not only to give the robot the ability self-guide, but also to shrink it down to less than half an inch wide so it can fit into small spaces and fly undetected.

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