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Epson Develops World's Smallest Flying Microrobot

It weighs just 8.9 grams and flies using a pair of contra-rotating propellers driven by an ultra-thin ultrasonic motor.

Japan's Seiko Epson Corporation has developed what their research suggests is the world's smallest "Micro Flying Robot", or uFR. The 8.9 gram machine was built to demonstrate the micromechatronics technology that the company has cultivated over the years. It is also intended to allow development of component technology applications and explore the possibilities for microrobots.

The uFR has the world's highest power-to-weight ratio (according to Epson research) and includes a low power consumption wireless module (again, according to Epson, the lowest in the world), mid-air control technology and a centre-of-mass movement control achieved through a linear actuator circuit.

Epson has developed and marketed a family of microrobots known as the EMRoS Series, beginning with the "Monsieur" model put on sale in 1993 and currently listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's smallest microrobot.

EMRoS stands for Epson Micro Robot System.  The series consists of Monsieur (1 cm3 in volume; 1993); Nino (0.5 cm3, 1994); Ricordo (1 cm3; equipped with a recording and playback function; 1995); and Rubie (1 cm3; equipped with a capricious wandering function; 1995).  All are autonomous travelling robots that chase a light source. 

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