Tiny Flyer Navigates Like Fly
But this thing is a plane, so it's a bad choice. It's not much use in the great outdoors if it's very small, because the lightest gust of wind is going to send it 50' off course. Besides, the need to maintain forward progress to ensure lift is going to make a fixed-wing aircraft a tool of limited use, except maybe for buzzing drunk schoolmates at the annual picnic.
I completely agree. Flies move by flapping their wings at a high speed, allowing for quick changes in direction and such. Fixed wing aircraft require forward momentum along with changes to control surfaces in order to change direction. The problem with a fixed wing aircraft that is the size of a fly is that not just a gust of wind, but even the tiniest ripple in the surrounding air, will cause it to either stall or move off course. Not to mention they would have to miniaturize everything: the propeller, power source, cameras, and all other on board electronics. The article says that it could one day be used for search and rescue but I don't know how an autonomous robot is going to know to look for humans, unless it has an infared sensor which just adds that much more weight. And even then, they would have to have a computer on the airplane that would understand all of this information. And to think, it has a 14" wingspan right now and all it can do is avoid walls! I'm sure the inventor has good intentions and all but this just sounds completely unreasonable to me.