Share this story!
A research team from Tampere University in Finland has developed a new type of mini-robot that uses wind and light as its energy source. Fairy, as the robot is called, looks like a dandelion seed and weighs only 1.2 grams. It is designed to fly around in outdoor environments and in the future can be used for a variety of purposes such as collecting data in remote areas.
The researchers operate and control the Fairy by shining it with an LED lamp or a laser. The robot can then change its shape in order to "sail" through the air. The researchers' plan is to make the robot so energy efficient that it can be powered by sunlight alone and at the same time be equipped with a range of different sensors and GPS.
That would give Fairy many potential applications. For example, it could be used to monitor wildlife, track weather patterns, and collect data on the condition of crops and forests. There are even more revolutionary things Fairy could help us with in the future. It then involves working as a pollinator where there are not enough insects to pollinate important crops.
"It sounds like science fiction, but we have performed experiments that show that the robot we developed is an important first step towards realistically being able to perform artificial pollination," says Hao Zeng, researcher at Tampere University and one of the researchers behind Fairy, in a press release .
Image: Tampere University