Watch Festo HQ team’s new dragonfly-inspired BionicOpter:
With the BionicOpter, Festo has technically mastered the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly. Just like its model in nature, this ultralight flying object can fly in all directions, hover in mid-air and glide without beating its wings.
In addition to control of the shared flapping frequency and twisting of the individual wings, each of the four wings also features an amplitude controller. The tilt of the wings determines the direction of thrust. Amplitude control allows the intensity of the thrust to be regulated. When combined, the remote-controlled dragonfly can assume almost any position in space.
There are more videos and explanation here. And if you haven’t seen them yet, there are more great videos to check out from Festo: AirRay, AirPenguin, AirJelly, AquaRay, and from the archives, AquaPenguin and AquaJellyfish, and the TEDTalk, A robot that flies like a bird.
Robots have to be able to move, perhaps quickly, on all kinds of terrain — search and rescue missions on remote parts of Earth or explorations on other planets like Mars will require it. So terradynamic researchers at Georgia Tech are creating and testing robots that have different leg shapes, all inspired by animals, to handle movement in a variety of environments. Bonus technology: 3D printing.
Watch this robot with c-shaped legs running super fast on Mars-like sand, and read more about the experiments here or here.
After a friend tweeted about a research page full of passive motion robotics videos by Andy Ruina, Professor of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at Cornell and of bicycle physics paper fame (SciFri video), I happened upon this 2008 video of Andy introducing his 22-pound, four-legged bi-ped robot named Ranger.
“The basic way this thing walks is that it falls down over and over again… this is walking as falling and catching yourself over and over again.” In 2011, Ranger did this for 40.5 miles — that’s 307.75 laps on a running track or 65km (watch the video) — unassisted over almost 31 hours before it needed a battery recharge.
I love how not-human this bot looks. The kid should see this!