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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Bluetooth flying bot creates buzz
The latest robot micro flyer, FR-II, is wireless and has its own battery pack

The latest mini flying robot has been unveiled by Seiko Epson in Japan.

The micro flyer is the new version of the robot by the Japanese technology firm that wowed crowds last year.

Weighing in at 12.3g, the FR-II is wireless, has Bluetooth and its own battery on board, unlike its precursor, and takes and sends images.

Its two tiny ultrasonic motors let it buzz about for three minutes. Seiko Epson said it could be used in search and rescue operations in two years.

The helicopter robot, which is lighter than a can of pop, could be used in surveillance operations or for reaching into tiny spaces to look for earthquake survivors.

Flight control

The previous four-legged prototype weighed 10g but had to be linked to an external power source via a cable.

Seiko Epson's FR-II micro flying robot
136mm wide, 85mm tall, 12.3g in weight
Two ultra-thin ultrasonic motors propelling in opposite directions
32 bit microcontroller
Tiny gyro-sensor
Battery pack on board
Digital camera
Remote controlled
Two LED lamps
A battery is now on board in FR-II, but it still only has enough power for a three-minute flight.

It showed off its flying prowess in a pre-planned flight, with instructions sent via Bluetooth.

Although the robot is heavier than its predecessor, it is still extremely light considering the devices on board.

Seiko Epson, which has a long history of micromechatronics in watch-making, developed a different gyro-sensor which is a fifth of the weight of the one the first model carried.

It claims it is the smallest and lightest gyro-sensor in the world. The super-thin motors were also re-designed to boost its lifting power by 30%.

The mini gyro-sensor acts as a stabiliser and could be used for digital cameras and camera phones this year to ensure snaps are not blurred, said the Japanese firm.

The world's smallest non-flying robot is the Monsieur microbot, developed by Seiko Epson in 1992.

The FR-II micro robot will be buzzing around at the Emerging Technology Fair, part of the Future Creation Fair, in Tokyo from 27 August.

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