Harvard researchers have developed Robo-fly, the smallest flying robot out there: it’s tinier than a quarter and weighs about one-tenth of a paperclip. Using electric muscles, the little guy can beat its wings 120 times per second. When a voltage is applied, Robo-fly’s muscles contract, which researchers can use to precisely maneuver it–enough to keep it hovering perfectly in place, or to dodge efforts to swat it.
Originally built to study insect flight, the researchers say Robo-fly might have applications in search and rescue, where it could maneuver through hard-to-reach locations. It still makes a noise that’s about as annoying as a real insect, though.