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Fri, Aug 20, 2004

World's Smallest Flying Micro Robot Unveiled In Tokyo

Bigger Is Better? Not!

Seiko Epson has come up with what it calls the FR, or Micro Flying Robot, the world's smallest flying prototype microrobot. Epson developed the FR to demonstrate the micromechatronics technology that it has cultivated in-house over the years and to explore the possibilities for microrobots and the development of component technology applications. The company will display its latest offering at the 2003 International Robot Exhibition, which will be held at Tokyo Big Sight on November 19 - 22, 2004.

Based on its micromechatronics technology, which is one of the company's core technologies, Epson has developed and marketed a family of microrobots known as the EMRoS series, beginning with Monsieur, which went on sale in 1993. Monsieur is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's smallest microrobot. In April, Epson developed Monsieur II-P, a prototype microrobot that operates on an ultra-thin, ultrasonic motor and a power-saving Bluetooth module that allows more than one unit to be remote-controlled simultaneously. Using these robots, Epson also realized the world's smallest full-blown robot ballet theater. In this way, Epson has played a pioneering role in research and development relating to microrobots and component technology applications.

The FR, which will be shown at the Tokyo exhibition, causes levitation by use of contra-rotating propellers powered by an ultra-thin, ultrasonic motor with the world's highest power-weight ratio and can be balanced in mid-air by means of the world's first stabilizing mechanism that uses a linear actuator. Furthermore, the essence of micromechatronics has been brought together in high-density mounting technology to minimize the size and weight of the circuitry's control unit.

With the FR, Epson says it's proven the possibility of expanding the world of microrobots from two-dimensional space -- the ground -- to three-dimensional space -- the air. Epson says it will feel out the reactions of visitors, discover and test problems related to the functional use of space by microrobots, and seeing what, if any, market might develop for such a machine.



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