Super agile bat micro-drone wings have long range and are super agile in air

Bat micro-drone wings have the same range as fixed-wing micro aircraft vehicles. Unmanned, tiny flying drones equipped with bat wings could be extremely useful for civilian purposes, such as rescue missions and surveying hazardous areas. The problem with current micro-air vehicles (MAVs), is that designers must choose between fixed wings which provide greater range, but limited manoeuvrability and rotary wings which offer more range, but less maneuverability. Some MAVs can reach 15 cm (5.9 in) while others are much smaller. They are often autonomous. The military, government agencies and businesses are all involved in the research and development MAVs. These MAVs can also be used for hobbies like aerial photography or robotics competitions. The wings of bats are able to lift themselves and allow them to ‘row’. They can also hover in any direction and make a move. Micro-air vehicles that fly like bats would make it the ultimate pilot of the sky. Image: realclear.com. Engineers from Imperial College London have now created wings that are inspired by bats using artificial muscles and polymer membranes. This allows them to be more flexible in the configuration of their designs. The research team claims that the MAVs they created have the potential to be both highly maneuverable and have a large range. Their production would be much more cost-effective if they had a 2-in-1 aircraft. These experimental wings are able to change shape as a result of wind force and atmospheric turbulence. They work in the same manner that bat wings. PN 10-16 Bat-flight inspires unique design for MAVs. In-flight testing of membrane wings which function like artificial muscles has been successful, opening the door to a new unmanned MAV that offers improved aerodynamics. (epsrc.ac.uk). The wings’ polymers activate when they are exposed to an electrical current. They can become stiffer or more flexible depending on the conditions they’re in. This allows them to adapt to their environment. This technology does not have any mechanical components, so they are easier to maintain and repair than MAV wings. The combined efforts of the Imperial and Southampton teams resulted in these bat wings. While the Imperial did the experimental work directly, the Imperial group focused on computational modeling research. Scientists draw inspiration from nature. Over the last few years more MAV makers and developers have taken inspiration from nature to create their designs. Scientists believe that by mimicking the behavior of animals, they can significantly improve their flight performance, controllability, and efficiency. Professor Rafael Palacios of Imperial College London said that nature is an inspiration when we think about making MAVs better. The ability of a bat to adjust to the changes in the environment by expanding and contracting its wings is something that can be emulated. This capability to reconfigure could allow for multiple missions to be performed with the same MAV instead of having to create a completely new craft each time. The US military has been developing MAVs since many years. The MAV is designed to look and move like a bird. The MAV can fly, watch, perch and wait, as well as explode. Image: stateimpact.npr.org. Next, they will incorporate their bat-like wings in new MAV designs. Their technology is expected to be applied in real-world situations by the end this decade, according to them. This study was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and US Air Force Office for Scientific Research. US Air Force Video: Micro Air Vehicles. The US Air Force invests a lot in research on MAVs. The speaker describes tiny aircraft as small as your thumb in the video.

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