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Japanese researchers develop robotic, heroic hummingbird

Laura June

This is not the first time we've heard about a robotic hummingbird, but they're still a rare enough species to warrant our attention. Japanese researchers at Chiba University near Tokyo have developed a new bot which behaves much like the quick-winged bird, which is controlled by an infrared sensor. The little birdie weighs in at less than an ounce and can fly in a figure eight, moving up, down, left and right. Next steps for its development -- which the researchers say will arrive by 2011 -- include the ability for it to hover mid-air, and have a small camera attached to it. Ultimately, its creators see the robot (which has cost around 2 million dollars to develop) being able to help search for people in dangerous situations, such as destroyed buildings, or aiding in the search for criminals. We haven't gotten a look at the little guy yet (the above photo is merely to whet your imagination), but we anxiously await its arrival.

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