Housefly-sized tetherless robots created; powered by solar energy.

It’s only in the past quarter-century or so that semiautonomous sensor platforms – self-powered robots equipped with cameras, rangefinders, and the like – have really advanced to the point where they’re feasible for field work. Right off the bat, everyone thinks of the UAVs deployed in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere or sophisticated robotics projects developed by hackers, but why stop there? When you consider practical sensor platforms most of them aren’t subtle: they’re the size of a model airplane or larger, and depending upon the method of propulsion used you might even hear them before you see …

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