This Flying Robot Acts Like A Real Insect

Posted: Sep 15 2018, 12:36am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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This Flying Robot Acts Like a Real Insect
Credit: Delft University of Technology

The robotic fruit fly can hover, dive and even perform aggressive maneuvers.

Taking inspiration from nature, researchers from Delft University have created an amazingly acrobatic robot. The robot is inspired by the wing movements of fruit fly and also hovers and dives like a real one, making it first autonomous, free-flying and most agile winged robot.

“The robot has a top speed of 25 km/h and can even perform aggressive maneuvers, such as 360-degree flips, resembling loops and barrel rolls,” said study lead author Matěj Karásek from Netherlands' Delft University of Technology. “Moreover, the 33 cm wingspan and 29 gram robot has, for its size, excellent power efficiency, allowing 5 minutes of hovering flight or more than a 1 km flight range on a fully charged battery.”

The flying robot, named DelFly Nimble, has two thin plastic wings on each side of its body. The wing design follows the same principles as fruit fly’s wings but they are more than 50 times bigger than the actual thing.

Insects generate power and control flight by flapping their wings. The movements of the wings allow an insect to drag its body forward and backward or left and right. The new robot can perform all fruit fly-inspired maneuvers with a remarkable level of resemblance. It flaps wings rapidly, 17 times per second like a fruit fly. The robot's flapping wings generate enough force to lift its body and to stay airborne. They also control the direction of the flight. The extensive knowledge of the robot’s internal processes could improve our understanding of fruit fly’s behavior and how their internal mechanisms work.

“In contrast to animal experiments, we were in full control of what was happening in the robot's "brain,” said Karásek. “This allowed us to identify and describe a new passive aerodynamic mechanism that assists the flies, but possibly also other flying animals, in steering their direction throughout these rapid banked turns.”

The idea of flying robots is not entirely new. Many similar aerial robots are already performing several difficult tasks like taking photographs and collecting or processing data. With its unique flying capabilities, DelFly robot can perform increasingly complicated tasks without supervision.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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