The Delfly Nimble – An Insect Inspired Robot
The Delft University of Technology has just unveiled a new version of a wonderful robot-insect .
Its wing beats mimic almost to the perfection those of the fruit fly.
In robotics, animals often inspired the work of many roboticists, from tiny ants to giant elephants.
At Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), a team has been working for several years on insect robots. They were trying to reproduce the very specific wing beats of certain species.
After the DelFly Explorer inspired by the dragonfly, the DelFly Micro which weighs only three grams, here is the DelFly Nimble.
This time, the specialists sought to reproduce the flight of the fruit fly.
This Diptera has only one pair of wings but also a pair of counterweight stabilizing his body, like a gyroscope. The insect can rotate its body to the left or right.
Everything happens from the mechanical flapping of the wings that allows it to move in all directions: up, down, front, back and sideways.The DelFly Nimble is equipped with two independent beat mechanisms.
One servomotor manages the dihedral angle of the mechanisms while another deals with the orientation of the root of the wings.
It has a 33 centimeters wingspan and weighs 29 grams. This remote-controlled robot can fly for five minutes at about 25 km / h in top speed.
Its unmatched agility allows it to perform 360-degree turns around the pitch or roll axes. It can do lightning transitions from a hover to a forward or sideward flight, and vice versa. At full speed, Delfly Nimble can reach a maximum speed of 7 m / s (~ 25 km / h).
The so far unparalleled combination of performances makes the robot looks very natural and ready for many mission in the field. Besides, the programmability and nimbleness of this robot, opens up a new way of studying insect flight dynamics and control during high agility maneuvers.