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Inspired by nature, Air Force researchers have designed and developed a tail-less, biomimetic flapping-wing micro air vehicle (FWMAV) that is controlled through the motion of the flapping wings.
By manipulating a few variables that govern the periodic motion of two wings, the time-averaged forces and moments that are applied to the FWMAV can be directly controlled.
A resulting implication is that the number of vehicle degrees of freedom controlled can exceed the number of actuators that physically exist on the FWMAV, thereby shifting complexity from mechanical elements to software.
Present levels of development allow roll and yaw rotations and horizontal and vertical translations to be controlled using two brushless direct current motors or piezoelectric actuators that drive each wing independently.
- Multiple independent degrees of freedom yield insect-like flight maneuverability
- Reduced number of actuators minimizes size, weight, complexity, and costs
- US Patents 9,428,269 and 8,700,233 are available for license and commercialization
- Millions of dollars of research from a multi-year effort available in CAD and CAM files, circuit board layout and design, composite structures for wings, and other know-how
- Potential for collaboration with Air Force researchers