How do you create a self-contained, fully autonomous robot as small as a fly? This remains an open challenge. Many technologies that are successful on larger robots cannot be reduced to the size of common insects because of unfavorable scaling of governing physical laws.
The Autonomous Insect Robotics Laboratory at the University of Washington works to advance insect-scale robotics engineering and better understand the capabilities of insects. A key driver is inspiration from the biomechanics and sensory-motor systems of insects. Insects have superlative capabilities that operate at the forefront of many areas of engineering, from fluid mechanics to control theory to machine learning to olfaction, outclassing current robots. These animals inspire future insect robotics that are not only small, but capable of extreme dynamic maneuvers and sophisticated tasks in uncertain and complex environments.
The laboratory has facilities to micro-fabricate and control aerial and ground-based robots and is housed in a 700 sq. ft. space on the first floor of the Mechanical Engineering Building.
The laboratory is directed by Prof. Sawyer B. Fuller.
July 2020 Science Robotics paper on insect-scale steerable vision comes out
March 2020 New site goes live!
April 2018 Congratulations Melanie Anderson for winning the prestigious NDSEG fellowship!
Feb 2018 Secured funding from the U Washington Royalty Research fund: "Aerial insect robotics powered by human-safe magnetically-coupled wireless power transfer"
April 2017 Prof. Fuller selected to speak at the ME seminar series, by popular vote of UW ME faculty