Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed a robot that can fly and swoop like a bat. They hope the robot’s design can help researchers improve the safety of drones.
In addition to nine joints in each wing, it sports adjustable legs, which help it steer by deforming the membrane of its tail. Complex algorithms coordinate these components, letting the bot make batlike moves including banking turns and dives.
The robot weighs just 93 grams and has a roughly one-foot wingspan. Its flight mechanism replicates the complex movements of bat wings, allowing it to bank and dive like the real thing.
With features such as gliding to save energy and flapping its wings for better aerial manoeuvres, this robot is set to fly circles around other drones.