Robots in Disguise


Cornell University has recently been working on perfecting the replication of insect flying techniques in robots.  While not a new idea, their approach uses new technology to make the process of creating the robot less time-consuming and faulty.  The wings of the rob-insect were created using a 3-D printer in order to achieve the optimal wing shape and consistent wing size. In total, the wings weigh 3.8 grams, allowing the robot to carry a payload of 1.5 grams, meaning it can barely carry its own batteries.  With these two small advancements though, not only can the robot hover for 85 seconds, it can also do an untethered and controlled descent.  In order to keep it stable during untethered flight, the researchers attached stabilizers to the top and bottom, as shown in the video.  Yet there is still much more work to be done, as batteries are still too heavy, and flapping flight is too unstable.  The technology is still far from perfect. One day, the Army hopes to use robo-insects as mini spy planes.  Just dont expect to be flying on a plane with flapping wings any time soon …


One Comment

Lorena Barba posted on September 26, 2011 at 8:02 am

I think using 3D printing for this application is a great solution. But it does seem that producing controlled flights of robo-insects is still an elusive goal!