The rise of companies like MakerBot has made 3D printing all the rage. Now, a group of researchers at the Cornell Creative Machines Lab has utilized the technology to make a lightweight, insect-like ornithopter (a general term for machines that fly by flapping wings).
From far away, it kind of looks like a dragonfly, with two sets of clear wings, each made with a simple 3D printer. The whole thing weighs only about 0.14 ounces and is capable of hovering without a tether for up to 85 seconds.
The nice thing about 3D printing? The researchers can create a set of wings in minutes, making trial-and-error testing much more efficient. While today it’s only capable of carrying the battery it runs on, in the future, who knows—we could see tiny insect cameras flying through the air.