Perching Flying Robot

A perching, flying robot is under development by Swiss researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). The intent is to create swarms of sensor-laden robots that can travel over rough terrain and aid disaster victims.

The robot uses sharp prongs to attach itself to most types of surfaces; it can detach and fly away on command.

(Perching, flying robot)

"We are not blindly imitating nature, but using the same principles to possibly improve on it," says Mirko Kovac of the EPFL. "Simple behavioral laws such as jumping, flying and perching lead to complex control over movement without the need for high computational power."

Perching saves energy and provides the robot a good vantage point to deploy its sensors; insects and birds do the same thing.

SF fans recall such early perching UAVs as that amazing fictional miniature flying machine, the Scarab Flying Insect Robot from the 1936 story by Raymond Z. Gallun.

I'd also mention the servo-optical stick-tight, a spy cell supported by rotary wings described by Jack Vance in his 1964 novel The Star King, and the robot tracking device described by Philip K. Dick in Vulcan's Hammer.

Read about other Stealthy, Persistent Perch and Stare UAVs and the Perching Autonomous Aircraft Perfects Prop Hang .

Via TG Daily.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/29/2010)

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