for insects, press print
Tiny robotic insects will make the perfect flighton-the-
Wall spy equipment
No wonder the Pentagon\'s Defense Advanced Research and Planning Agency (DARPA)
Eager to get its hands on the micro
Explore the planes of caves and other hiding places and pass the information back to the base.
Hod Lipson of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, said that while miniature helicopters already exist, you can\'t make aircraft as small as insects without slapping institutions.
\"As you get smaller, the principle of the helicopter doesn\'t work, it\'s just small in scale,\" he said . \".
The same is true for fixed wing flights.
While several research groups around the world have already shown flapping machines, wing designs can be hit or missed because it\'s hard to get your head around physics, Lipson said.
Lipson and his colleague, Charlie Richter, said that\'s where 3D printers are going-by revealing flight dynamics, they could be an important step towards developing smaller, more efficient wings.
What\'s special about 3D printers?
Richter says they can create complex structures such as wings that are twisted to improve performance, such as wings that are manually bent by paper planes.
Their printers are capable of producing films that are 40 microns wide and 16 microns thick.
Another advantage of printing, Lipson said, is speed.
Once they have found a new wing design, it will take less than an hour to print a set.
In addition to its motor and battery, their latest four
The creation of the wings is almost entirely printed by polyester film stretched on the carbon fiber rod, weighing only 3 lbs.
Fold the weight off on their previous version-and be able to hover unlimitedly for 85 seconds.
By allowing Lipson and Richter to try different designs, they think this approach can help eliminate some speculation from the physics of wing design.
\"People understand fixed wing flight very well,\" Lipson said . \".
\"But there is very little theory when it comes to slapping-especially untethered hover flight.
\"Lack of theory means that there is no computer model to predict the performance of different designs.
The easiest way to collect performance data is to build designs and test them in the real world.
Lipson and Richter plan to cycle through and analyze the performance of various wing designs using their 3D printing methods, and insert information into a computer model, which combines a genetic algorithm, these data can then be used to evolve the perfect set of wings.
Rick Ruijsink of Delft Technical University in the Netherlands says this is a reasonable way, and his team keeps records of the smallest bird travelers.
Their DelFly Micro weighs just over 3 grams, although it can only fly forward and therefore cannot hover.
\"We are working on a similar principle,\" he said . \" He used Particle Image flow and high
Try to reverse engineer the theoretical model.
However, they are still building their wings with their hands.
Lipsen and Richter introduced their work at the Artificial Life Conference (Alife XII)
In Odense, Denmark next month.
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