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The First Takeoff of a Biologically Inspired At-Scale Robotic Insect

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1 Author(s)
Wood, R.J. ; Harvard Univ., Cambridge

Biology is a useful tool when applied to engineering challenges that have been solved in nature. Here, the emulous goal of creating an insect-sized, truly micro air vehicle is addressed by first exploring biological principles. These principles give insights on how to generate sufficient thrust to sustain flight for centimeter-scale vehicles. Here, it is shown how novel manufacturing paradigms enable the creation of the mechanical and aeromechanical subsystems of a microrobotic device that is capable of Diptera-like wing trajectories. The results are a unique microrobot: a 60 mg robotic insect that can produce sufficient thrust to accelerate vertically. Although still externally powered, this micromechanical device represents significant progress toward the creation of autonomous insect-sized micro air vehicles.

Published in:

Robotics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 2 )