3D printed Robo Raven mechanical bird can perform aerobatic maneuvers with ease
For years now we have been trying to emulate god’s design by building our own versions of mechanical wings for example. Now joining the band-wagon of select intuitive brainy people who have been successful in doing so are Hugh Bruck and S.K. Gupta (University of Maryland professor) who have developed a robotic bird called Robo Raven that has a unique new design to actuate the in-flight control even more than before. Having mechanical wings that can flap individually by programming to perform any desired motion; Robo Raven is quite capable of displaying aerobatic maneuvers with ease. After having a lot of speed bumps in its development for so many years now, the bird is ready to fly like no other mechanical bird out there.
Based on a very different and new concept, the bird has two programmable motors that can be synchronized electronically for a coordinated motion, much like real birds do. Two separate motors meant that the robotic bird had to have two actuators, bigger battery and on-board micro controller making it heavy to fly. But the team got it right as they used 3D printing and laser cutting to make a light-weight polymer body for the bird.
Combined with advanced motion profiles for optimal velocity, right balance between lifts and thrust during flight and a way to measure aerodynamic forces generated during flapping cycle meant that Robo Raven could fly smoothly without any errors.
According to S.K. Gupta
We can now program any desired motion patterns for the wings. This allows us to try new in-flight aerobatics—like diving and rolling—that would have not been possible before, and brings us a big step closer to faithfully reproducing the way real birds fly.