Robotic Bird Sticks Soft Landing to Perch on Palm
May 09 2012 10:00 PM ET
Scientists have created a flying machine that can perform a soft-landing like a real bird and even perch on a human hand.
“We have developed an articulated-wing-based concept for an agile robotic aircraft inspired by birds,” said co-inventor Aditya Paranjape, a postdoctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“Of all maneuvers executed by flapping wing aircraft in a gliding phase, a perched landing is arguably the most challenging.”
Perching is routinely used by birds to land on objects such as tree branches, power wires, or building ledges.
Soon-Jo Chung, an aerospace engineer at the University of Illinois who led the project, said he hopes to one day develop aircraft that can mimic the autonomy and agility of flying creatures such as bats.
“There’s a lot to learn from bio systems,” Chung said. “Bats can fly with damaged wings. They are so agile and highly maneuverable; they can make rapid 180-degree turns autonomously and they can fly indoors without colliding with obstacles. These qualities are desirable for small aircraft that could be used in surveillance, particularly in urban settings where obstacles hamper movement and satellite control is blocked.”