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Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Feb 3, 2017

Engineers Create Bat Bot (B2) - A Drone With Flapping Wings That Takes Autonomous Flight

Scientists taking inspiration from nature, owing to the fact that it's so full of awe-inspiring features, for advancing robotic technologies, has been the trend for the last couple of decades. On the same lines, a team of researchers from Caltech and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign led by Soon-Jo Chung has made use of custom-made silicon-skin and morphing wings to create Bat Bot or B2 a drone that flaps its own wings to take autonomous flight. The design of the bot was made to more efficient and safer than and is a study into how bats fly.


Weighing only 93 gm, the Bat Bot has a one-foot long wingspan. It's important to note here that, bats have the most interesting, highly sophisticated mechanism for flying. They have a musculoskeletal system that moves in more than 40 rotational directions. The Bat Bot 2 can alter its wing's shape by doing 3 actions - flexing, twisting or extending its legs, elbows, shoulders and wrists.

The top challenge for researchers was to create shape-changing wings mid-flight. They couldn't use nylon or mylar - the traditional stretchable fabrics because they aren't up to the mark. Therefore, the engineers developed their own custom ultra-thin (56 microns), silicone-based membrane that mimic the thin bat wings.


You can take a look at the video published by the researchers where you see the Bat Bot in action. You can notice that while flapping its wings, the membranes get filled up with air and deform, creating a huge amplification in power for the flap. Take a look -

The team's work has been published under the title "A Biomimetic Robotic Platform to Study Flight Specializations of Bats" here. What are your thoughts on nature inspired bots? Share with us in comments below.

Source: Caltech
Suhel Inamdar
Suhel Inamdar • Feb 3, 2017
its awesome
I want help to built a low cost drone

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