Why it matters: Researchers have long dreamed of creating tiny autonomous robots that could explore small spaces to inspect infrastructure, assist in disaster relief or drop pollen on flowers. But bringing the required power and control to insect-sized robots has been challenging.
How it works: The RoBeetle’s artificial muscle is powered by methanol instead of batteries, freeing it from tethered power sources.
What’s next: Yang says a different fuel — for example, propane — might help to speed up the robot. Ultimately, he says, they hope to generate enough force to create a robotic butterfly.