Skip to main content

RoboBee - Robot Insect

In a Harvard robotics laboratory, inspired by the biology of a fly, robotic insect RoboBee achieves vertical takeoff, hovering, and steering. It is the world's smallest flying robotic insect and it has taken 12 years to get the robot into the air. The work was led by researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

PD-100 Black Hornet PRS Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle has been developed by Prox Dynamics AS of Norway. It is about 100 mm long (rotor span 120 mm), and weighs 16 grams including a camera. The Black Hornet has a range of 1000 meters, can fly for 25 minutes at maximum speed 10 m/s, and is ready to fly within one minute.

 The team has gone through 20 prototypes.

It's really only because of this lab's recent breakthroughs in manufacturing, materials, and design that we have even been able to try this. And it just worked, spectacularly well.

says Robert J. Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS, Wyss Core Faculty Member, and principal investigator of the National Science Foundation-supported RoboBee project.

The tiny robot flaps the two wafer-thin wings 120 times per second with 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.

Large robots can run on electromagnetic motors, but at this small scale you have to come up with an alternative, and there wasn't one,

says co-lead author Kevin Y. Ma, a graduate student at SEAS.

The control system is wired in from a separate computer and it has to react very fast to remain stable, because at tiny scales, small changes in airflow can have an outsized effect on flight dynamics. The prototype is still powered by a very thin cable because there are no solutions for energy storage that are small enough to be mounted on the RoboBee body.

Applications of the RoboBee project could include distributed environmental monitoring, search-and-rescue operations, or assistance with crop pollination.

The video below shows a series of early, uncontrolled takeoff tests proving that the vehicle can generate enough lift to overcome its own weight; however no stability control is implemented.


You might also like

    Popular posts

    What is Mechatronics?

    Mechatronics definition Mechatronics is a synergistic combination of precision engineering, electronic control and mechanic systems. It is the science, that exists at the interface among the other five disciplines: mechanics, electronics, informatics, automation, robotics. It is one of the most dynamically developing fields of technology and science. The word 'mechatronics' appeared for the first time in Japan in 1969. mechatronics = mecha nics + elec tronics + computing

    Ascento - The Two-Wheeled Jumping Robot

    All-terrain capabilities are required to extend beyond flat surfaces the application range of wheeled robots. First think is four or six-legged robots which have been well known for years. Nowadays, thanks to more and more perfect gait algorithms, the two-legged (bipedal) robots appears more and more often. ETH Zürich students combine the advantages of wheeled robot and two-legged robot.

    Automatic Sorting of Skittles or M&Ms by Colour

    Do you sort M&Ms or Skittles by colour before eating them?  For example, eat all the yellow ones first, then the red ones, then the blue and so on. Brian Egenriether, an electrical engineer, decided to make a small machine that looked like an appliance, which could perform these tasks automatically. This mechatronics project took him about 5 weekends to make. The use of the machine is very simple: pour Skittles or M&Ms into it, push a button and have candies sorted. Let us look at the construction.

    Mechatronics System as the Future of Cooking at Home

    Do you get up in the morning and don't feel like making breakfast? One of the solutions is food delivery service, which leaves your takeout order outside of your front door. Other solution is a private chef who is responsible for shopping for food, menu planning, preparing and cooking meals for you. But if you love mechatronics systems, your solution is a mechatronic kitchen. It allows you to save time, free up your day from routine cooking, plan and adapt your menu according to different diets and lifestyles.

    Three Wheels Balancing Robot

    The three wheels balancing robot is similar to a ballbot from the point of view of the goal. In comparison to ballbot which balance itself on a single ball, three wheels balancing robot is designed to balance itself on a single rod. The common characteristics of this kind of robots is that there’s one sole contact point to the ground.

    Stretch - Boston Dynamics Unveils New Robot for Warehouse Automation

    Boston Dynamics is the global leader in mobile robotics. Their popular robots are SpotMini, Spot, Atlas and Handle. Now they has revealed 'Stretch', which is a new box-moving robot designed to support the growing demand for flexible automation solutions in the logistics industry. A Massachusetts company well known for its humanoid robots and dog-like androids is preparing to muscle its way into the warehouse automation industry with its latest mechatronic solution. Warehouse automation is a fast-growing market fueled by increased demand in e-commerce. The robot called Stretch is Boston Dynamics’ first commercial robot specifically designed for warehouse facilities and distribution centers. Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics said: Warehouses are struggling to meet rapidly increasing demand as the world relies more on just-in-time delivery of goods. Mobile robots enable the flexible movement of materials and improve working conditions for employees. Stretch

    High Speed Book Flipping and Scanning

    We are increasingly accustomed to using e-books and each book is now released in a digital version too. Progressive digitization of the world around us causes the demand for devices to enable the digitization of paper books, official documents, and notes. However, the conventional technology can not meet the demands for ease-of-use and high-speed book digitization. Ishikawa Oku Laboratory at the University of Tokyo works on a solution.

    DIY Low Cost 6-Axis Desktop Robot

    Learning how to build a robot is a long way. It is the way by mechanics, electronics and programming. Such a mechatronics project is associated with problems such as stiffness (mechanics), overvoltage (electronics) or bug (software). Of course, if something is wrong, we always say 'it's not a bug, it's a feature', but finally a robot has to start working properly.