Next generation drones design inspired by nature

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After being inspired by birds, bats, insects and even flying snakes, researchers from 14 teams have come up with new designs of next generation drones and flying robots. These robots would have the potential to perform multiple tasks from military surveillance to search and rescue, News Tonight reports.
Olga Yazhgunovich: These robots may look similar to many things that nature has given to us in abundance, as flying robot will look like insects and butterflies, Design and Trend says. A report in EurekAlert says that scientists are working on different types of drones that look like different insects and animals. The report also said that scientists have successfully created the smallest drone of all that is as small as merely a millimeter in size. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics journal has come out with fascinating details as to how things are going to shape up in the future as far as the look and shape of the robotic drones are concerned. These drones come with exquisite flight control and can overcome many of the problems drones may face when navigating urban terrain. There is no denying the fact that flying drones are going to be of immense use in different fields in the coming days. It is true that the success of a flying robot depends, obviously, on the exactitude of its flight control, and nothing has more meticulous flight control than the creatures who are born with the gift of flight. Experts are very optimistic about the design and success of such flying robots. Dr. David Lentink of Stanford University says, “Flying animals can be found everywhere in our cities…From scavenging pigeons to alcohol-sniffing fruit flies that make precision landings on our wine glasses, these animals have quickly learnt how to control their flight through urban environments to exploit our resources.” One of the most interesting such robotic drone is a drone under development in Hungary that mimics the flocking of birds. It tries to do it by actually developing an algorithm that allows drones to huddle together while flying through the air. By understanding the ways how tiny insects stabilize themselves in turbulent air, researchers have designed many future drones. One of the researchers from the University of Maryland engineered sensors for their experimental drone based on insects' eyes to mimic amazing capability of flight in clutter. These eyes will act as cameras to record actual position of the drone which will be further monitored by engineers connected to an on-board computer. Another raptor-like appendage for a drone has been designed by some of researchers that can grasp objects at high speeds by swooping in like a bird of prey. Also, a team of researchers led by Prof. Kenny Breuer, at Brown University, has designed an eerily accurate robotic copy of a bat wing with high range of movement, tolerance and flexibility. Prof. Lentink added that membrane based bat wings have better adaptability to airflow and are unbreakable. A few issues will have to be sorted out for the success of such robots. According to the report, one of the biggest challenges facing robotic drones is the ability to survive the elements, such as extreme heat, bitter cold and especially strong winds. To overcome this issue, a team of researchers studied hawk moths as they battled different whirlwind conditions in a vortex chamber, in order to harness their superior flight control mechanisms. Another report in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics says more than a dozen teams are involved in creating flying robots that look like insects, butterflies and others that not just don’t fly in conventional ways but also in unconventional ways and so they are able to fly freely in dense jungles where we cannot expect other drones to fly. Source:

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