Home AI News Researchers Develop Fully Maneuverable Robotic Bee for Various Applications

Researchers Develop Fully Maneuverable Robotic Bee for Various Applications

Researchers Develop Fully Maneuverable Robotic Bee for Various Applications

The Development of a Fully Maneuverable Robotic Bee

A team of researchers from Washington State University has successfully developed a robotic bee capable of flying in all directions. With four wings made of carbon fiber and mylar, as well as lightweight actuators for wing control, the Bee++ prototype is the first of its kind to achieve stable flight in all directions, including complex motions such as yaw.

Significance of the Robotic Bee

For over 30 years, scientists have been attempting to create artificial flying insects. These tiny robots hold great potential for various applications, such as artificial pollination, search and rescue missions in confined spaces, biological research, as well as environmental monitoring in hostile environments. However, achieving controlled flight and landing has been a significant challenge.

The Journey to Fully Maneuverable Flight

Initially, researchers developed a two-winged robotic bee that had limited mobility. However, in 2019, Néstor O. Pérez-Arancibia and two of his PhD students successfully built a four-winged robot that was light enough to take off. By employing different wing flapping patterns for pitching and rolling motions, the researchers created torque that allowed the robot to rotate along its two main horizontal axes.

Controlling the yaw motion, which is crucial for focused movement, was another challenging aspect. Without proper yaw control, robots would continuously spin as they tried to maneuver towards specific points. To overcome this limitation, the researchers looked to insects for inspiration. They implemented wings that flap in an angled plane, allowing the robot to twist in a controlled manner. Additionally, they increased the robot’s wing-flapping frequency from 100 to 160 times per second.

Current State and Future Developments

The Bee++ prototype weighs 95 mg and has a wingspan of 33 millimeters, making it slightly larger than real bees, which weigh around 10 milligrams. However, the robot can only fly autonomously for approximately five minutes at a time and is mostly tethered to a power source through a cable. The researchers are also working on developing other types of insect robots, including crawlers and water striders.

This groundbreaking research was led by Néstor O. Pérez-Arancibia, who will present the results at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. The project received funding from the National Science Foundation and DARPA, with additional support provided by the WSU Foundation and the Palouse Club through WSU’s Cougar Cage program.

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