Seiko Epson Corporation claims to have invented the world's lightest flying micro robot, the Micro Flying Robot, introduced in Tokyo in August. The prototype robot was originally created as an aid to security, disaster rescue and space exploration. The robot, resembling a miniature helicopter, measures 3.4 inches by 5.3 inches, weighs 0.4 ounces with its lithium battery and has an embedded 32-bit microcontroller. The robot has a super-thin motor and a digital camera, and flies and hovers using contra-rotating propellers. Seiko created a minuscule gyro sensor to balance the machine while in the air. An imaging sensor allows it to send pictures wirelessly. The robot can be flown by remote control or automatically via a flight-route program from a computer. Seiko envisions the airplane as a useful tool for rescue and surveillance. A commercial model is planned for release in two or three years.