The DelFly Micro is an amazing micro air vehicle; it is the world's smallest airplane that is equipped with a camera. With a weight of just three grams, and a four-inch wingspan, the DelFly Micro is an ornithopter enthusiast's dream come true.
Take a look at the Delfly Micro video below.
(DelFly Micro video - World's smallest camera plane)
The tiny aircraft was built by a four-man research team from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The first public flight was made on May 5th.
Flapping its little wings 30 times per second, it has yet to achieve autonomous flight. The pilot uses a joystick on a remote control, steering the little plane based on the video feed from the micro air vehicle's (MAV) tiny camera.
Made of PET film (used for the wings), balsa wood and carbon, the DelFly Micro is powered by a tiny lithium polymer battery that weighs just 1 gram and generates 30 milliampere hours of power — enough to keep the insect-sized MAV flying for 3 minutes.
Together with its associated transmitter, the DelFly Micro's video camera weighs only about 0.4 grams. The DC brush motor driving its flapping wings weighs 0.45 grams, the two magnetic actuators that operate its directional and elevator rudders weigh 0.5 grams, and its operating electronics 0.2 grams. Another 0.5 grams of structure brings the total weight of the DelFly Micro to 3.07 grams.
Although the DelFly Micro looks more like a dragonfly, I can't help but think of the amazing Scarab flying insect robot from Raymond Z. Gallun's The Scarab, published in Astounding Stories magazine in 1936.
The Scarab rubbed its hind legs together, as flies will do when at rest. Then, apparently satisfied that it was in condition, it unfolded the coleoptera-like plates over its wings. With a buzz that any uninformed person would have mistaken for that of a beetle, it started out on its journey.
(Read more about the scarab flying insect robot)
The Scarab was also flown by remote control; the pilot was able to see what the Scarab saw with its "minute vision tubes."