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Object Timeline

-0001

2012

  • Work on this object began.

2014

2015

2017

  • You found it!

Robobee (USA), August 2012

This is a Robobee. It was designed by Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Kevin Y. Ma and Robert J. Wood and team member: Pakpong Chirarattananon and Sawyer B. Fuller.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated August 2012 and we acquired it in 2015. Its medium is flight muscles: piezoelectric ceramic, carbon fiber, and alumina ceramic; wings: polyester film membrane stretched over a carbon-fiber composite frame; wing transmission: polyimide-film flexural hinges with carbon-fiber rigid links; body: carbon-fiber and. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The RoboBee is the world’s first insect-scale flying robot. Weighing 80 milligrams (approximately the weight of a honeybee) with a wingspan of little more than 1 inch (3 cm), the RoboBee was designed by researchers at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The team wanted to create a robotic bee colony that replicated the unique interactions of thousands of bees, a response to the alarming collapse of bee colonies worldwide in recent years. Facing the challenge of producing minuscule mechanical devices, researchers looked to the process of manufacturing pop-up books. To build individual bees, sheets of laser-cut materials are sandwiched together into a thin, flat plate that folds up like a pop-up book into the complete electromechanical structure. Swarms of RoboBees could not only have the capacity to artificially pollinate crops, but also participate in search-and-rescue missions, act as environmental sensors, or conduct covert surveillance.

This object was donated by Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It is credited Gift of Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Our curators have highlighted 4 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

H x W (flattened): 2 x 3 cm (13/16 x 1 3/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Robobee (USA), August 2012; Designed by Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Kevin Y. Ma and Robert J. Wood; flight muscles: piezoelectric ceramic, carbon fiber, and alumina ceramic; wings: polyester film membrane stretched over a carbon-fiber composite frame; wing transmission: polyimide-film flexural hinges with carbon-fiber rigid links; body: carbon-fiber and; H x W (flattened): 2 x 3 cm (13/16 x 1 3/16 in.); Gift of Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; 2015-23-1

We have 1 video that features Robobee (USA), August 2012.

RoboBee Demo Video

Demonstration of an insect-sized robot in flight.

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51497591/ |title=Robobee (USA), August 2012 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 August 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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