Wednesday November 26, 2003The world's smallest flying micro-robot has been unveiled at the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo. Seiko Epson Corporation's FR ("Micro Flying Robot") stands just 70 mm high and uses 130 mm wide contra-rotating propellers powered by a tiny ultrasonic motor to achieve balanced mid-air flight.The propellers are powered by an ultra-thin, ultrasonic motor that has with the world's highest power-weight ratio according to company research. Balance in mid-air is controlled by a stabilizing mechanism using a linear actuator and the wireless control-module also boasts world record status in terms of low power consumption.The FR is part of a continuing research drive by Epson into micro-mechatronics technology. This first exploration of micro-robots in three-dimensional space follows Monsieur (1 cm3 in volume), 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.