Extremely small unmanned aircraft known as micro air vehicles represent an area of research with great potential for both civilian and military applications. While novel fixed-wing and rotary-wing designs continue to be investigated, a new trend in the MAV community is to take inspiration from flying insects or birds to achieve unprecedented flight capabilities using flapping-wing designs. Bird-like devices, knowns as ornithopters, and insect-like devices (entomopters) may overcome problems encountered in rotary-winged devices.

Even smaller vehicles, known as Nano Air Vehicles (NAV), with wingspans of less than 15 centimeters and weights of less that 20 grams explore low Reynolds number aerodynamics, power conversion efficiency, endurance and maneuverability of very small aircraft.

Nova Photonics research into micro and nano air vehicles has been carried out for DARPA's nano air vehicle project, for the US Naval Research Laboratory, the Army Research Laboratory and for the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Micro Air Vehicles