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 ")

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Use Your Brainwaves As A Password
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'- Philip K. Dick, 1965.

Largest Micro-Drone Swarm Release Successful
'... Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.

HyperFace Aims To Foil Facial Recognition
'...A million and a half physiognomic fraction-representations of various people.' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

 

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

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

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.