Prototype "flying jellyfish" in the air

What could be better than a vehicle inspired in jellyfish, which swims under the water? Well, what would you think about one that flies?

A group of scientist at the New York University (NYU) has created this gadget that could have far-reaching implications for these small flying robots.


Normally, the flapping-wing MAVs (Micro Aerial Vehicles) need some form of automatic flight control system allowing them to respond instantly to instabilities (wind gusts). Besides the development difficulty, the problem is that the system needs a physical hardware that adds undesired weight and complexity to the mini-aircraft.

The design of the NYU’s gadget, however, allows it to easily maintain stability.  The creation by Dr. Leif Ristroph, is composed of 4 wings placed as “flower petals” that flap at a frequency of 20 times per second. When it goes up or down, the movements are similar to those of a jellyfish. When it hovers at one spot, its action it’s similar to that of a moth.

Until now, it used a connected external source of energy that can not be guided. Despite that, it is considered to be a promising model of a concept test that could lead to UAV surveillance, search and rescue or reconnaissance jobs.

You can see the vehicle in action in the following video:

Fuente: Gizmag

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