'PigeonBot' Brings Robots Closer To Birdlike Flight

'PigeonBot' Brings Robots Closer To Birdlike Flight

'PigeonBot' Brings Robots Closer To Birdlike Flight

That dream came a step closer to reality on Thursday after researchers from Stanford University announced that they had studied the wings of common dead pigeons and then used their findings to construct a radio-controlled "PigeonBot 40" wing. really feathers.

As much as they tried, even the most advanced robotists on Earth struggle to recreate the effortless elegance and efficiency with which birds fly through the air. It turns out that the way birds fly is not very well understood, since the relationship between the dynamic shape of the wing and the positions of the individual feathers is very complex.

They created the PigeonBot - a winged robot that they say approximates the graceful complexities of bird flight better than any other robot to date.

During the flight tests, the wrist and finger manipulations began steady turns at tight angles, which the researchers said provided some of the first evidence that the birds mainly used these digits to direct in flight. Passenger jets, of course, don't need to dive or roll on short notice, but drones and other small craft might find the ability extremely useful. The team replicated the bird's wing on the PigeonBot using 40 pigeon feathers, springs and rubber bands connected to a wrist and finger structure.

"Whenever the skeleton moves, the feathers are redistributed passively through compliance of the elastic connective tissue at the feather base". "Most aerospace engineers would say this is not going to work well, but it turned out to be incredibly robust", Lentink says. At certain moments during flight, such as when a bird is extending its wings, tiny hooks on the feathers lock together like Velcro.

This is because avian feathers have a locking mechanism that helps them stick together to form smooth, seamless wings that can face even the most turbulent of winds. Then, when a bird tucks its wing back in, the feathers unlock automatically, like directional Velcro.

The research is published as two separate papers in the journals Science and Science Robotics.

It's worth noting that the PigeonBot doesn't incorporate something you might associate with birds' wings - flapping. Certification: Lentink Lab / Stanford University Video of PigeonBot wings formatting in response to flexion and extension of wrist and finger angle in an aerodynamic tunnel. Lentink is working on a tail to match the wings, and separately on a new bio-inspired robot inspired by falcons, which could potentially have legs and claws as well.

"The little active morphing wing principles presented here can inspire more economical and simple morphing wing designs for planes and robots with more degrees of freedom than previously considered", the researchers write in the Science Robotics article.

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