Robot hummingbird could find earthquake victims

The latest member of TGD’s virtual menagerie is a robot hummingbird, designed to find people trapped in collapsed buildings, track down criminals, or even explore other planets.

The micro air vehicle, developed at Japan’s Chibu University, is about four inches long and weighs about 0.09 ounces. A tiny motor allows it to flap its four polyethylene wings up to 30 times per second.

Its rechargeable battery allows for six minutes of flying time, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. Its creators plan to equip it with a tiny camera.

Its developer, engineering professor Hiroshi Ryu, said that it might have applications in finding earthquake victims, or for exploring Mars from the air. “The next step is to make it hover to stay at one point in mid-air, he told the Taipei Times.

It’s an expensive little blighter – the development cost has already topped $2 million.