Robo-Bat Has Shape Memory Alloy Joints
A robo-bat with shape memory alloy jointed limbs and smart material alloy muscles is being built by North Carolina State University researchers.
Gheorghe Bunget, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at NC State, and his advisor Dr. Stefan Seelecke looked to nature [for inspiration]. "We are trying to mimic nature as closely as possible," Seelecke says, "because it is very efficient. And, at the MAV scale, nature tells us that flapping flight – like that of the bat – is the most effective."
According to the NC State press release, the fully assembled robotic 'bat' skeleton rests easily in the palm of your hand and, at less than 6 grams, feels as light as a feather.
(Robo-bat with shape memory alloy joints)
The research team is using a special shape memory alloy that is super-elastic for the joints of the robo-bat. The material offers a full range of motion, but always returns to its original gliding position. Smart materials are also being used for the 'muscles' on the robotic bat. Seelecke explains:
"We're using an alloy that responds to the heat from an electric current. That heat actuates micro-scale wires the size of a human hair, making them contract like 'metal muscles.' During the contraction, the powerful muscle wires also change their electric resistance, which can be easily measured, thus providing simultaneous action and sensory input. This dual functionality will help cut down on the robo-bat's weight, and allow the robot to respond quickly to changing conditions – such as a gust of wind – as perfectly as a real bat."
It's interesting that science fiction writers also chose to mimic nature in the earliest descriptions of robotic micro air vehicles - MAVs. I was thinking in particular about the extraordinary Scarab flying insect robot from Raymond Z. Gallun's The Scarab, published in Astounding Stories magazine in 1936.
The Scarab rubbed its hind legs together, as flies will do when at rest. Then, apparently satisfied that it was in condition, it unfolded the coleoptera-like plates over its wings. With a buzz that any uninformed person would have mistaken for that of a beetle, it started out on its journey.
(Read more about the scarab flying insect robot)
For a different take on the idea of a robotic bat by a different research team, take a look at the COM-BAT Robotic 'Bat' On Order From UM . The development process for this tiny MAV emphasizes the senses of a robotic bat.
From Robo-Bats With Metal Muscles May Be Next Generation of Remote Control Flyers (press release) via Physorg.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/8/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion (Back On) ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Smartphone Sensor System Tracks Gunfire
'Sound trackers on the roof could zero in on weapons action...'-Greg Bear, 2007.
SHEPHERD-MIL, A Birdlike Soaring UAV
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'- Philip E. High, 1968.
AXON Flex And Stross' Cop Specs
'Arriving on SOC... Start evidence log." [E]verything you see on duty goes into the black box.'- Charles Stross, 2007.
India Opts For Nationwide Iris Scanning
'The road you're on, John Anderton, is the one less traveled...'- Steven Spielberg, 2002.
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.
MIT Robot Cheetah Video Shows Gait Transition
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'
TrackingPoint Smart Rifle
Not your typical 'smart bullet' approach.
'Hello, Computer!' Google Now Highlighted at IO13
Sky City's 220 Stories Are Go
'It rested among green parklands and... stood in total isolation, a glittering block of whites and flashing windows dotted with colors.'
CARMAT Bioprosthetic Total Human Heart Replacement
'George Walt's corporate existence proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'
Personal Sniffer Robots
'...The ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the hound.'
Physical Exam? We've Got Apps
See the future of handheld, personal medical devices.
The Interplanetary Internet, Vint Cerf Speaking
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Drosophila Robotica, The Mechanical Fly
'... the Scarab [flying robot] buzzed into the great workroom as any intruding insect might...'
Robo-Raven Flapping Wing Robot Bird
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Japan's Nursing Home Robot Plan
Let's make the Roujin Z-0001 Robotic Bed!
Samsung Smart TVs With Gesture Control
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Swiss HCPVT Giant Photovoltaic 'Flower'
'...leaning against one of the slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector.'
Mini-Livers Made By 3D Printer
Organleggers may experience an employment downturn.
Smartphone Sensor System Tracks Gunfire
'Sound trackers on the roof could zero in on weapons action...'
Bacteria Now Make Biofuel Like Oil
'They have ... germs that eat pretty near anything, and produce oil as a waste product.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories