For now, the robotic fly is powered and guided by batteries and sensors that aren’t built into its body. Instead, they are tethered to control and power systems by fine copper wire. While Wood’s group is developing a sturdy body that’ll stay in the air, collaborators around the country are busy shrinking sensors. Still others are working on ways to network them for the day when they will interact as a swarm. “It’s roughly broken down into: body, brain and colony,” Wood says.