(A robotic bat wing lets researchers measure forces, joint movements, and flight parameters — and learn more about how the real thing operates in nature. Credit: Breuer and Swartz labs/Brown University)

Researchers build a 3D printed robotic bat wing for future aircraft design

Feb.24, 2013

Bats are spectacular fliers. Their wings span most of the length of a bat’s body, from shoulder to foot and supported and moved by two arm bones and five finger-like digits. Over those bones is a super-elastic skin that can stretch up to 400 percent without tearing. For years researchers are studying the machinations of bats wing. The strong, flapping flight of bats offers great possibilities for the design of small aircraft.

Researchers at Brown University have developed a robotic bat wing for better understanding dynamics of flapping flight in real bats.

The robot, which mimics the wing shape and motion of the lesser dog-faced fruit bat, is designed to flap while attached to a force transducer in a wind tunnel. As the lifelike wing flaps, the force transducer records the aerodynamic forces generated by the moving wing. By measuring the power output of the three servo motors that control the robot’s seven movable joints, researchers can evaluate the energy required to execute wing movements.

Testing showed the robot can match the basic flight parameters of bats, producing enough thrust to overcome drag and enough lift to carry the weight of the model species.

Read more: 3ders.org – Researchers build a 3D printed robotic bat wing for future aircraft design | 3D Printer News & 3D Printing News.

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