A 'robo-fly' seen next to the edge of a dime for scale. While the team has shown that the project works in principle, it may take a further 10-15 years of research before the Army has a fully functional robotic surveillance insect. Researchers say more work is needed to establish algorithms that would allow a robotic insect to stabilize itself.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) aims to develop autonomous drones small enough to fit through an open window. Speeding through unstable buildings or threatening indoor spaces at 20m a second, the unmanned aerial vehicle would obviate the need for physical entry that puts troops or civilian response teams at risk.
The DARPA team has already been working on a project to mimic a millipede which crawls when voltage passes through the PZT material. PZT, also known as PZT, is a material that flaps and bends when a small voltage is applied.
DARPA is already famous as the agency behind some of the US military's more far-fetched war robots. In this picture, a robotic 'cheetah' takes to the treadmill at 18mph, setting a land speed record for legged robots.
The LS3 is a military robot designed to carry up to 400 pounds of equipment. Equipped with sensors it can sidestep obstacles such as trees and rocks.
Something like Q Branch in the James Bond movies, DARPA is constantly working on what it describes as "radical innovations." But where James Bond has the character Q to build his exploding pens, DARPA often funds private companies and external organizations to develop its high-tech hardware.
It is currently funding research into, among other things, a robot ostrich, a flying car and a plane that could stay airborne for five years at a time.
The ATLAS humanoid robot will be used by seven competing teams in a DARPA contest to create disaster response robots. At six-foot-two and 330 pounds, this hulking first responder has all the qualities you'd want in the field after a disaster: strength, endurance and calm under pressure.
The Black Hornet is described as a "nano air vehicle," forming part of a Personal Reconnaissance System developed by Norwegian company Prox Dynamics.
The miniature helicopter can be flown manually or autonomously and houses a camera that relays video and still images to a handheld control unit. Designed for military reconnaissance, it has been used by British forces in Afghanistan to fly ahead of military units and identify hidden dangers.