Robotic bat

March 2, 2017 | 15:00
To judge by the interest shown by our readers in the recent article Bat Detector plus published in Elektor, this animal is appreciated by electronics buffs. Its ultrasonic echo location abilities are evidently fascinating, but this nocturnal chiroptera* also arouses interest with the agility of its flight (active, and not gliding). The unparalleled aerobatics of the bat are possible because of some forty articulations of its extraordinarily flexible wings. These characteristics offer aerial robotics a model for study and research, with the key to some formidable technical challenges for the design and control of flying robots which imitate the morphology of the wings of the bat.

Here is such an autonomous robot, called Bat Bot (B2), which weighs around 93g, and does not try to emulate the complexity of the biological model, but tries to imitate its fluidity of motion. The flexibility of the bat’s wing is much greater than that of the birds and insects which have been studied previously. The ultra fine and very elastic silicon membrane (56µm) of the robot bat form a continuous flexible surface. To conform to the mechanical constraints, primarily weight, it is controlled by a reduced number of actuators which reproduce the dominant degrees of freedom (DOF) of the flight of a real bat. This simplification makes it possible for this robot to fly, as yet only for short distances, but with a promising fluidity!
*Chiroptera: the natural order to which the bat species belong.
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