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Purdue Robotic Collie is almost as good as the real thing

In West Lafayette, Indiana, a well-known ornithologist, Xinyan Deng, offers a hand to serve as a platform for a magnificent turquoise and dark green hut. She hovers above her palm, and her wings are knocking fast to keep her in the air, but otherwise remain perfectly quiet. Though this may hover some bird species, this is something that hummingbirds are exceptionally talented. They are even capable of floating in the wind's blossom, constantly adapting their position to keep up with the goal. Which is one of the reasons why Deng is so interested in them.

Except we lie. Well, somehow. Professor Xinyan Deng is not a famous ornithologist. She is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Purdue Bio-Robot Laboratory, a laboratory devoted to the construction of the next-generation robot inspired by nature. The Deng's Hummingbird is not a real bird hog. It is an impressive robotic reproduction of the real thing: not only of the same size, shape and (thanks to the specially designed body cover) as an inspiration but also capable of many of the same innovations – hugging to a large extent. Although currently needs to be tied to the ground to provide strength and stability, the team responsible for creating is thrilled to have finally struck one of the most unusual flying modes in the world.

purdue university robot hummingbird humminbird 2
Purdue University

"[The] Hummingbird is a unique species whose size is between insects and other birds – Deng told Digital Trends. "The summer comes and you can see them in your yard as they hover, slowly moving one another. I can hover like insects [using] high frequency wings and can fly acrobatically like birds with active wrap-around wings. Most birds can not fly, while most insects can not actively deform their wings. Hummingbirds can do both, and their stable and agile flight makes them a natural small flying miracle. If you want to build a small one [micro air vehicle] (MAV) who can achieve a flying and highly manageable flight, [the] Hummingbird is an ideal animal for learning. "

That's, in short, what makes Purdue's Bio-Robotry Laboratory so interesting. Halfway between the biological laboratory and the latest robotics house. It does what engineers often call "reverse engineering", meaning that the existing product separates to see how it works and how it can be recreated. Only in this case is it not about breaking up a smartphone or other gadget developed by a competing manufacturer and how to find a copy of its functionality. It is the mining of the natural world to solve the problems that evolution has long replied, but scientists and engineers are still struggling with it.

By modeling the principle of locomotion of everything from flying insects to fish, Purdue's Bio-Robotics Laboratory wants to discover the secrets of the most impressive and the most effective animals in the world – then turn these insights into new, bio-inspired robots capable of navigating the air, land or sea in a way to which the previous robots did not even dream.

Airy miracle

The team of bird robots is the latest impressive example of this. Equipped with only two actuators, it can achieve floating, track trajectories and a series of impressive acrobatic maneuvers in the air. All this is done in a diminished body of the same size, weight and frequency of wings as a typically magnificent hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens).

– It has independently controlled wings [the real animals] do, which makes it very agile. "

– It has independently controlled wings [the real animals] do, which makes it very swirling, "Deng continued. Each of these wings can be moved individually, changing its direction upwards 30 times per second. Changing the movements of each wing, even for a minute, a bird robot (hummingbot?) Is able to show impressive flying dynamics far beyond all but the bravest trumpets.

In addition, robotic wing motors may feel wind wing changes, such as those when they are resistant. This allows them to be dynamically adjusted to avoid possible wound damage. And that is not even the end of the winning documents.

"It's safe to touch, shock and impact resistant, and it can cope with a significant loss of wing surface and vehicle wear," said Deng. "It raises the lift more than twice the weight, and can be made autonomously when we add the battery to the boat. It is also natural and can fly quietly, making it a nice alternative or complementary conventional rust.

to implement bio-robotic birds
Purdue University

Real hummingbirds spend most of their time eating. They use a stunning amount of energy that needs to be constantly supplemented by feeding nectar flower, tree juice, insects and pollen. Provided Purdue can solve the problem with the battery, his robot hummingbird will use its time for much more practical applications.

Such machines "can coexist with people in future smart cities".

"This type of robot can be used in closed or crowded spaces – for example, internal navigation or search and rescue [missions] in demolished buildings, "she said. Due to the lack of rotating quadcopter blades, the robot is also capable of interacting with people without the risk of hurting them. As a result, Deng said that machines such as this "can coexist with people in future smart cities and can be used in various commercial, industrial and defense applications."

For robot-lovers, this is another example of how fast the robots are developing here in 2019. And, hey, even the worst technofobs have to feel a little confident about the future in which the sky is filled with hundreds of robotic collies. , How do science-fantasy distrophies go, that's not bad!

Three separate works describing the Hummingbird robot project should be presented at the International Robotic and Automation Conference 2019 in Montreal, Canada, later this month.

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