BUZZZ! Engineers at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, are developing tiny flying robots inspired by bees. They’ve now created a way for the paper-clip-sized bots, nicknamed RoboBees, to perch on objects—just like real bugs. Instead of constantly remaining in flight, the machines can rest to save energy.
RoboBees land and stay put using static electricity—when objects acquire opposite electric charges on their surfaces. These opposite charges attract one another, allowing the robots to stick to objects.
A RoboBee creates static electricity by running an electric current—a flow of electrons—through a flat pad at the top of its body. Once charged, the pad will attach to any smooth surface. The robots could someday help with tasks such as weather monitoring and search-and-rescue operations.