By analysing the shape of the wings of flying insects during flight, through the use of flight simulators, researchers at Oxford University tracked the flow of smoke particles over the insect wings, in order to understand the air flow. This led to an in depth analysis of the wing motion. The research can have many applications in military as well as entertainment, by allowing to build efficient flying robot insects.
According to researchers, making so tiny flying machines with flapping wings and make them hover for long periods of time is a very challenging engineering problem and requires new breakthroughs in our understanding of micro flight mechanisms. This involves better batteries and lighter materials as well as improving the wing motion efficiency. The wings need to be built from elastic materials, which will have realistic deformations, as the wing itself is far from being a rigid surface according to research. See the original news at New Scientist, in the link below.