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MIT works to perfect self-healing robotic flying bugs that can swarm

MIT News reports on work by some researchers at the school to develop little flitty flying automatons that can overcome damage to their artificial wing muscles and wings - sometimes through use of a tiny little laser.

So far, they've figured out how to keep the robobugs flying even after their "muscles," or actuators, have been jabbed by up to ten needles and after the wings have had 20% of their tips removed.

They optimized these artificial muscles so the robot can better isolate defects and overcome minor damage, like tiny holes in the actuator. In addition, they demonstrated a novel laser repair method that can help the robot recover from severe damage, such as a fire that scorches the device. ...

Their repair methods enabled a robot to keep flying even after the researchers cut off 20 percent of its wing tip.

They add, though, that bumble bees can keep flying even after losing up to 40% of their wings, so their work continues. In addition to keeping the wings going, the researchers are working on getting the fauxbees to handle complex tasks such as landing on a flower and flying in a swarm - and figuring out how to let them fly untethered through their own carry-on power sources.

No word if they're working on flyettes that could survive being whacked with a fly swatter.

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Imagine a "mosquito" that is actually a miniature robot; it follows its target indoors and injects a bit of poison into his or her neck, after which he or she dies.

You can't track it on radar, and it can crawl through the tiniest crack to get inside. It's the perfect assassin.


Scientists really need to consider the moral implications of what they are doing, and the logical uses of the technologies they are creating. It should be a tip off when you are getting military funding for seemingly innocuous things that it might not actually be that innocuous at all.


In the 70s, a friend's mom worked at Natick army labs, studying cockroaches. She had an enormous collection. Some were as big as a small dog. Why? Idk. So far as I know, the army didn't weaponize cockroaches. So far as I know...

There are cockroaches the size of small dogs?

TIL they make cockroaches the size of a small dog. That's fine, I didn't need to ever sleep again.

MIT made their peace with that decades ago.


We'll need more good guys with robot mosquito assassins.

With frickin laser beams attached?


We may never have to put up with flying cars (at least I hope not) but Skynet is starting to look like a real possibility.

What could possibly go wrong?


What could possibly go wrong?

Yet I bet they are unable figure out a solution to our transit system's failures.

Maybe if the state required colleges, universities and sports teams to pay into the T they would figure out a way to fix it.

Great… man made horrors beyond my comprehension

There are plenty of horrors that are already real that don't require you to jump to wild ass conclusions based on this single article.

Relax…it’s a joke. And a quote from Tesla

Oh yeah! I saw this black mirror episode!

I feel like writing for Black Mirror must be a very taxing and frustrating job: you spend all morning coming up with the worst techno-dystopian fever dream you can muster, then over lunch you read about some techbro or government lab very excited about doing the same. Another morning's work wasted.