Posts Tagged 'Flight'

Out of Many, One

Autonomous Aircraft Combine To Increase Stability, Power.

Popular Science (6/8, Dillow) reports, “Researchers at the ETH Zurich recognize that different tasks call for different aircraft, and with that in mind they’ve designed the Distributed Flight Array (DFA), a flying platform consisting of multiple small autonomous single rotor aircraft that can dock with one another to create a larger, more powerful aircraft.” Each “fixed [propeller] aircraft” that makes up the DFA has “its own sensors and flight control system,” and can “fly somewhat erratically.” However, “joined together they become a larger sensor-based flight platform, capable of maintaining level flight by rapidly sharing data between them.” The array “is a proof of concept” at this point, but “such a scheme could have a variety of applications, not least of which is the relatively straightforward yet sometimes difficult task of picking stuff up.”

Reposted from the June 8, 2010 ASEE First Bell

Robotic Bees

Harvard Researchers Developing Robotic Bees.

Computerworld (10/8, Cooney) reports, “Harvard University researchers recently got a $10 million grant to create a colony of flying robotic bees, or RoboBees to among other things, spur innovation in ultra-low-power computing and electronic ‘smart’ sensors; and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines.”  The research “could lead to a better understanding of how to artificially mimic the unique collective behavior and intelligence of a bee colony; foster novel methods for designing and building an electronic surrogate nervous system able to deftly sense and adapt to changing environments; and advance work on the construction of small-scale flying mechanical devices,” according to the school.  “The bees will be made up of a variety of technologies including UV and optical sensors as well as pollination and docking capabilities, the researchers stated.  In addition, achieving autonomous flight will require compact high-energy power sources and associated electronics, integrated seamlessly into the ‘body’ of the machine, researchers stated.”

Reposted from the October 8, 2009 ASEE First Bell briefing.


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