BBC Focus Sets Sights on SensorFly


April 8, 2010

SensorFly, a swarming autonomous robotic helicopter developed by Assistant Research Professor Pei Zhang and his students at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley landed in BBC Focus magazine last month. The article, "Swarm Bots," discusses the science behind swarm robotics, current research projects under way across the globe and the potential applications of the technology.

SensorFly is a novel, low-cost, controlled-mobile aerial sensor networking platform that weighs in at around 30 grams and is about 2.5 inches long (6.5 inches in diameter). These autonomous helicopter nodes feature communication, ranging and collaborative path capabilities that Zhang and ECE PhD students Aveek Purohit and Zheng Sun say could sense survivors after disasters, or enemies in urban combat situations. BBC Focus calls SensorFly "the latest robot swarm to be set loose on the world (or at least the lab). It's an approach to robotics that seeks to build something very different to the walking, talking tin-can servants we were all promised in the 1950s."

To read the full article, visit

SensorFly in action. (Photo courtesy of Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley.)

Related People:

Pei Zhang