Wing-Morphing Micro Air Vehicles

Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are being equipped with shape-changing wings to allow them to perform remarkable bird-like manuevers. Prototypes have been created by a research team lead by Rick Lind, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Florida.


(From Wing Morphing MAV (video))

University of Florida engineers have built prototypes with wingspans as small as six inches. These MAVs are able to fly effectively in challenging environments like cities - just like their natural counterparts.

"If you fly in the urban canyon, through alleys, around parking garages and between buildings, you need to do sharp turns, spins and dives," said Lind. "That means you need to change the shape of the aircraft during flight."

Large drones like the Predator fly high above cities in Iraq, providing surveillance (and some offensive) capabilities. Micro air vehicles would be used to provide surveillance up close, sticking tight to their targets.


(From Wing Morphing MAV (video))

Impressed by seagullsí ability to hover, dive and climb rapidly, doctoral student Mujahid Abdulrahim photographed the gulls close-up during flight. Gullsí wings flex at both their shoulder and elbow joints as they alter flight patterns.


(From Seagull Wing Movement [earlier paper])

With the wings imitating the gullsí elbow in the down position, the plane loses stability but becomes highly maneuverable. With the wings in the elbow straight position, it becomes a good glider. Elbows up, itís highly controllable and easy to land.

Motors can transform the wings from the down to the up position in flight in 12 seconds, "fast enough to use in a city landscape," Abdelrahim said.

The bird-like prototypes are described as being "strikingly maneuverable," capable of completing three, 360-degree rolls in one second. (An F-16 fighter jet can manage at least one roll per second, but three rolls would produce excessive gravity force, killing the pilot). The UF micro air vehicles are so agile they appear out of control at times, and require considerable talent by the remote control pilot.

In his 1964 novel The Star King, Jack Vance wrote about tiny devices called stick-tights:

Suthiro knit his furry brown eyebrows in puzzlement, glanced for the most fleeting instant upward.

Gersen continued, "There is a stick-tight watching us, although I have not yet located it. Its microphone probably registers our conversation...
(Read more about Vance's stick-tights)

In the novel, stick-tights come in a variety of models, from the servo-optical (a spy cell supported by rotary wings, remotely guided by an operator) to the Culp spy master - a semi-intelligent bird-like creature trained to follow subjects of interest.

Take a look at two other tiny flying machines - the uFR-II Micro Flying Robot and Robotic Bird. Read more about Airborne drones, mimicking gulls, alter wing shape for agility.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/24/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

RFID Chipped Employees Of Three Square Market
'About a third of the people in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip...' - John Twelve Hawks, 2015.

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...' - Manly Wade Wellman, 1938.

Cyborg DragonflEye At Your Command
'The dragonfly responded like a toy airplane, taking off and heading east...'

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...' - Roger Zelazny, 1980.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

MULTI Model Of Star Trek Turbolift
Cool prototype video!

A Look Into The Future Of Spacecraft!
Ever wonder how you look when you enter a new part of a spacecraft?

An 'Ethical Black Box' For Robots?
Explored by science fiction authors.

Dadbot Digital Immortality
'A hardwired ROM cassette replicating a dead man's skills...'

Should We Permit Computers To Create Their Own Language?
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Breakthrough Starshot Sprites Yearn For Alpha Centauri
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon...'

Kino Project Roaming Personal Fashion Robots
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...'

Astronaut Exercise Video, Predicted By SF Writers
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses.'

First Crewless Ship? Umm
Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship?

RFID Chipped Employees Of Three Square Market
'About a third of the people in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip...'

JAXA's Int-Ball Drone To Follow Astronauts In Space Station
'I want you to build me some of those.'

Amazon Patents Annoying Robot That Follows You
'The... machine, being homotropic, headed toward them, still bleating...'

Hand Gestures And Body Poses Control Devices
'He waved his hand... the circuit switched...'

Rovable Robots Crawl Across Your Body
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...'

Sansar Social Virtual Reality Platform In 2017?
'And just as a daydreamer forgets his actual surroundings, and sees other realities...'

Cellphone Harvests Power From Ambient Radio Signals And Light
A battery-free phone.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.