A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Harvard's Robobee Has Insect-Inspired Eyes
Harvard has created a tiny robotic Robobee that can fly straight and true using only its on-board sensory apparatus. Since the physical constraints of the device do not permit a camera, researchers designed a light sensor inspired by the ocelli of insects themselves.
(Harvard Robobee video)
Scaling a flying robot down to the size of a fly or bee requires advances in manufacturing, sensing and control, and will provide insights into mechanisms used by their biological counterparts. Controlled flight at this scale has previously required external cameras to provide the feedback to regulate the continuous corrective manoeuvres necessary to keep the unstable robot from tumbling.
One stabilization mechanism used by flying insects may be to sense the horizon or Sun using the ocelli, a set of three light sensors distinct from the compound eyes. Here, we present an ocelli-inspired visual sensor and use it to stabilize a fly-sized robot.
We propose a feedback controller that applies torque in proportion to the angular velocity of the source of light estimated by the ocelli. We demonstrate theoretically and empirically that this is sufficient to stabilize the robot's upright orientation.
This constitutes the first known use of onboard sensors at this scale.
Dipteran flies use halteres to provide gyroscopic velocity feedback, but it is unknown how other insects such as honeybees stabilize flight without these sensory organs. Our results, using a vehicle of similar size and dynamics to the honeybee, suggest how the ocelli could serve this role.
Of course, other small flying robots are being worked on.
The scarab flying robot insect from Raymond Z. Gallun's 1936 short story The Scarab is a very early description of a fly-sized flying robotic device:
The Scarab paused on its perch for a moment, as if to determine for itself whether it was perfectly fit for action. It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length... Its body had a metallic sheen, and its vitals were far more intricate than those of the finest watch...
It's interesting to me that Gallun didn't give the Scarab a camera to see with, even though photography was well developed (and television had been demonstrated) by 1936. Instead, Gallun equipped his robotic insect with minute vision tubes to image its surroundings.
Via Controlling free flight of a robotic fly using an onboard vision sensor inspired by insect ocelli.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/30/2014)
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 ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Mika The Robot-Boss
'the robot-boss was busy at the lip of the new lode instructing and egging the men on to greater speed...' - David C. Cooke, 1939.
Sensitive, Soft Robot Skin
'...tinted material that had all the feel and appearance of human flesh and epidermis.' - Harl Vincent, 1934.
Finger Sensors For Robot Hands
'What strange sensitivity! What an amazing development of science was manifested in every move and act and word of this Robot!' - Ray Cummings, 1931.
A Vacuum With An Arm - Engineers Create Heinlein's Hired Girl Robot
'Anything larger than a BB shot it picked up and placed in a tray...' - Robert Heinlein, 1956.
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.
Wearable Energy Harvester
'... he had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action from the motion of breathing.'
Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites
'...a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.'
Anna Indiana AI Singer-Songwriter
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents'
Video Manicuring ala Schismatrix
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time'
'Feel the AGI' OpenAI Leader Now OpenWorship
'And are all the people willing to be governed by a machine?'
NASA Tests Prototype Europa Lander
Why have legs if they don't walk around?
Tailsitter Drone Aircraft For SAR
'...it was so easy for me to remain motionless in midair.'
Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
'It's an old model,' Rawlins said. 'I'm not sure what to do.'
Mika The Robot-Boss
'the robot-boss was busy at the lip of the new lode instructing and egging the men on to greater speed...'
Yamaha Motoroid 2 No Handlebars Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He rode the bike with an intense lack of physical grace...'
San Francisco Autobus
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street...'
Should Your Car Decide If You Can Drive?
'Okay. Maybe the car was right...'
Lucid Dreams On Demand From Prophetic and Card79
'the peeper did not operate by virtue of its machinery alone, but by the reaction of the brain and the body of its user...'
Honda UNI-ONE Hands-Free Wheelchair Follows 100 Year-Old Design
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'
EBS-260 Handjet Free Hand Dot Matrix Printer
'McKie held a chalf-memory stick over the dusted surface.'
Sensitive, Soft Robot Skin
'...tinted material that had all the feel and appearance of human flesh and epidermis.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories