The trick was to improve power density through sophisticated materials. The actuators are made of dielectric elastomers, which are deformed under electric field and have good insulating properties. Their improved electrode conductivity helps them operate at the same 500Hz as the rigid actuators found in other bots of this size. They are also easy to assemble and replace, so you can zoom in with more wings and actuators to handle more complex tasks. He took a model with four actuators and eight wings to turn it controlled.
Technology is still not very efficient compared to conventional robots. However, the researchers hope to improve the technology and ultimately want to sell it. If they do, there are numerous potential applications. Harvard believes these robots are useful for search and rescue missions where a robot may have to navigate dangerous wreckage in search of survivors.