This is a neat project indeed. My guess is a small gearmotor, although I can think of a couple of ways to do it using a small motor similar to the vibration motor in a pager. Then a PWM drive to slow it down, and it is done, except if it needs to be checking for movement to tigger the motion.
But this project could indeed be the start of another fad.
He purchased the butterfly as seen in the photos, I'm not sure what the wings are made of but it looks like some fairly thin cloth/nylon/spandex type material. In the Instructable he says that the wings will be finished in fabric that matches the dress.
A moving mechanical butterfly in your hair would really turn some heads. It seems that DelFly is on to something similar although they could use some tips in making their ornithopters more "butterfly" looking. And, of course, remove the camera as well. Getting it to alight on top of the brides hair whilst in the course of reciting her vows would also get a few "wows".
Some of this technology has been perfected and mass marketed in the RC helicopter and airplane world. Minature recievers, lithum ion batteries, tiny servos made from motors and a leadscrew occuping less than 1/2 of a CC. The green led in this case tells the operator that the system is powered and ready. I would have modified a Ready to fly Blade MCX which costs $135 and includes a co-axial 4 channel helicopter, 4 channel radio, battery and charger...
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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