Indeed, most tiny drones require a tether connected to an external power source in order to fly.
It is the first insect-size aerial vehicle to fly without requiring a tether, and it uses recent advances in materials and engineering to achieve new power efficiency.
You can also watch a video of it in action here. Why wings? Flapping wings have several potential advantages over the propeller blades that give lift to conventional drones.
The RoboBee instead collects its own power from several tiny solar panels perched above its wings.
Still, it points to a future when winged drones might weave through buildings and busy urban areas with unnerving ease.
Flying machine: The RoboBee X-Wing, developed at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory, is a remarkable feat of microengineering.
But these machines lack any real control, and they have nothing like the power efficiency of a real bird or insect.
This tiny, solar-powered, bee-like robot could be the future of drones. One day, anyway.
This could be the future of drones. One day, anyway. https://t.co/ok4US81vuq— MIT Technology Review (@techreview) June 26, 2019