Sunday, February 13, 2022

BionicSwift - a robot bird that flaps its wings to fly in tight quarters.

BionicSwift - a robot that mimics a real bird's flight mechanics.

robot bird

Festo robotic biomimicry expert, has presented its latest BionicSwift design, a robot that mimics the flight mechanics of a real bird.

These artificial birds can fly in coordinated flocks autonomously and perform tight turns and twists. The BionicSwifts are agile and maneuverable, with the ability to make sharp turns and curves. The five robotic birds can move autonomously in a coordinated pattern in a defined airspace by interacting with an indoor radio-based GPS system.

Natural-inspired ultralight flying objects

BionicSwift, like its biological model, was designed with the use of lightweight structures in mind. After all, in both engineering and nature, the less weight to move, the less material required, and the less energy consumed.

As a result, the bionic birds are only 42 grams in weight, with a body length of 44.5 centimeters and a wingspan of 68 centimeters.

Feathers with aerodynamic properties for efficient flight.

The wings are modeled after bird feathers to mimic natural flight as closely as possible. The individual segments are made of an ultra-light, flexible, but extremely strong foam that overlaps like roof tiles. They are attached to the actual primary and secondary feathers and are connected to a carbon feather, just like their real-life counterparts.

During the upward movement of the wing, the individual segments fan out, allowing air to flow through the wing. This means that the birds must expend less energy to propel their wings upward. The segments then close during the downward stroke, allowing the flying robots to fly more powerfully.

The BionicSwifts have a far superior flight profile than previous flapping units because they faithfully replicate the wings of a real bird.

Functional integration in a very small space

The bird's body houses the flapping mechanism, communication technology, and the components that control the wing flapping and tail lift motion. In an extremely small space, a brushless motor, two servo motors, a battery, a gearbox, and various circuit boards for radio, control, and localization are installed. Intelligent interaction between the motors and the mechanical system, for example, allows for precise adjustment of the wing beat frequency and elevation angle for the various maneuvers.

GPS-based flight maneuver coordination

The BionicSwift can fly safely and in a coordinated pattern thanks to the radio-based indoor GPS using ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. To accomplish this, several radio modules are mounted in space, defining the controlled airspace by fixing bases that are positioned relative to each other.

Furthermore, each bird is outfitted with a radio marker that sends signals to the bases, which can then pinpoint the bird's precise location and send the collected data to a central master computer that serves as a navigation system. The system can plan and determine routes and flight paths for the birds by using preprogrammed routes.

If the birds deviate from this flight path, for example, due to a sudden change in environmental conditions such as wind or thermals, they immediately correct their flight path by intervening autonomously, without the intervention of a human pilot.

Even if there are obstacles and visual contact is lost, radio communication allows them to determine their exact location. The use of UWB radio technology ensures that the system operates safely and without interference.

BionicSwift, a new source of inspiration for intralogistics

The intelligent combination of flying objects and GPS routes results in a 3D navigation system that could be used in the future connected factory. Precision localization of materials and goods, for example, can be used to improve process flows and anticipate bottlenecks.

Furthermore, with their flight corridors, autonomous flying robots could potentially be used to transport materials, optimizing the use of space within a factory.


Article Author Gerluxe

Image: xataka

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