May 3, 2013

Controlled Flight of a Biologically Inspired Robotic Insect

The tiny robot flaps its wings 120 times per second using piezoelectric actuators — strips of ceramic that expand and contract when an electric field is applied. Thin hinges of plastic embedded within the carbon fiber body frame serve as joints, and a delicately balanced control system commands the rotational motions in the flapping-wing robot, with each wing controlled independently in real-time.

Credit: Kevin Ma and Pakpong Chirarattananon, Harvard University.

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