Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments > Unmanned Vehicles

Will future UAVs fly like a bird ?

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Ayoshi:
From Air Recognition - 20 January 2020 13:52

--- Quote ---Researchers at Stanford University have been looking into exactly how birds can maintain controlled flight by changing the shape of their wings. For their study, they created a robot called PigeonBot that has a pair of “biohybrid morphing wings.” The robot is being used to test out new control principles. One of the most interesting aspects of the PigeonBot is that the scientists fitted the flying robot with real bird feathers.

Researchers found that the roll of the PigeonBot could be controlled with movement of the finger joint on the wing alone. They say that this technique is inherently more stable than the aileron roll used by conventional aircraft.

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In addition to finding that the individual control of feathers is more automatic than manual, the team found that tiny microstructures on the feathers form a sort of one-way Velcro-type material that keeps them forming a continuous surface rather than a bunch of disconnected ones.

The researchers believe that this directional Velcro discovery is one of the more important findings from their study. Surprisingly, they’re not pursuing any additional applications and have decided not to patent the finding so that their discovery can benefit society at large.
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PigeonBot,  a winged robot that approximates the complexities of bird flight (Picture source: Lentink Lab/Stanford Univ.)
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The PigeonBot connected 40 real feathers elastically to a pair of robotic bird wings with wrist and finger joints that can be actuated individually. Rather than having flapping wings, the robot uses a traditional propeller and a conventional tail. (Picture source: Lentink Lab/Stanford Univ.)

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