The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


A Penn Engineering student just made the smallest self-powered flying robot, according to The Inquirer.

Matt Piccoli, an Engineering graduate student in Professor Mark Yim’s ModLab, designed the robot for his graduate engineering project. The robot, named Piccolissimo, is made from plastic using a 3-D printer, has a propeller and comes in two different versions. The smaller version weighs 2.5 grams and is about the diameter of a quarter. The larger version is a little bit over four grams and can be steered by infrared remote control. 

According to The Inquirer, Harvard made a smaller flying robot, but Harvard’s robot has a land-based power source, while Penn’s device can carry its own batteries.

“The size would be an advantage in search-and-rescue missions because such a robot could navigate through tight spaces in a collapsed building and send back pictures to a team of first responders,” Yim said according to The Inquirer. Piccoli says that the device can be equipped with a small panoramic camera or sensors to detect dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide.