Saturday, February 4, 2012

Unraveling a Butterfly's Aerial Antics Could Help Builders of Bug-Size Flying Robots

ScienceDaily (Feb. 2, 2012) — To improve the next generation of insect-size flying machines, Johns Hopkins engineers have been aiming high-speed video cameras at some of the prettiest bugs on the planet. By figuring out how butterflies flutter among flowers with amazing grace and agility, the researchers hope to help small airborne robots mimic these maneuvers.

 U.S. defense agencies, which have funded this research, are supporting the development of bug-size flyers to carry out reconnaissance, search-and-rescue and environmental monitoring missions without risking human lives. These devices are commonly called micro aerial vehicles or MAVs.

The butterfly research will aid the development of flying bug-size robots. Pictured is an insect-inspired flapping-wing micro air vehicle under development at Harvard. (Credit: Robert J. Wood, associate professor, and Pratheev Sreetharan, Harvard Microrobotics Lab, Harvard University.)



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