A small robot named RoboBee X-Wing has been invented by researchers at Harvard University’s Microrobotics Laboratory which is only 5 inches long and weighs only 259 milligrams. Rather than holding a battery, it instead is entirely solar-powered.
RoboBee X-Wing is able to take off using small wings, allowing it to be extremely flexible and maneuver far better than ordinary flying robots. That gives it a significant benefit over more traditional drones that may have fixed wings. But creating this robot is not easy, especially on such a small scale. The materials that are used have to be resilient to light, and the algorithms that allow the robot to fly are actually extremely complex when taking into account sensory perception. Even a supercomputer is not able to make a robot fly as well as an actual bee.
With a weight of well under 1 gram, this robot cannot fit any kind of battery, and the solar panels that powers it weigh only 10 milligrams. With such small solar panels, ordinary sunlight is not strong enough to power the robot, and therefore artificial lighting has to be used. Now researchers are working on a new improved model that would require less powerful light, and it is conceivable that in future a model could be developed that can be powered by sunlight alone.