We cover a lot about 3D printing here at Bit Rebels. I think it’s because we feel this new technology is going to revolutionize the way we shop, repair and invent things in the near future. It seems everyone is talking about new 3D printer product launches, and they’re always more advanced upgrades that increase accuracy. We are still waiting for that next step where advanced circuitry can be 3D printed. That’s where these micro-drones come into the picture.
Researchers and inventors over at Harvard University have been developing their artificial bees for quite a while now. They are tiny micro-drones that are completely 3D printed and have insanely intricate technologies incorporated into them. Since they are not larger than your thumbnail, they can reach a wing flap frequency of up to 30 hertz. To simplify that, one could say that it’s a frequency where you can no longer see the wing’s contours.
The micro-drones can be mass produced and deployed in a rapid manner, which makes them perfect for large scale deployment. They are currently powered by an external power source, which makes them a little bit limited to where they can actually “fly.” They are 3D printed into a kind of ceramic, carbon fiber and plastic scaffolding that when done, pushes the micro-drones up, releases the lock mechanism and then releases the bee micro-drones. When you have a look at the video describing the manufacturing process, you will be amazed how advanced these micro-drones really are, despite the fact they are so small.
Future tiers of these micro-drones will have another form of incorporated power source as the tethering to a ground-based battery makes the micro-drones too heavy to fly. What they will be used for is not yet mentioned, but you can imagine they could be used for recon missions, tight space repairs and a whole lot of other endeavors. It depends solely on the number of features you can add before the micro-drones get too heavy to be able to fly. Technology is always getting smaller, so there is no doubt these will become really useful tools for certain kind of endeavors in the future.