AI News, Novel Wings and Jet Thrusters for Swimming, Flying Robots

Novel Wings and Jet Thrusters for Swimming, Flying Robots

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to pretend that the word “terrain” doesn’t explicitly refer to land, because we’ll be looking at some concepts for robots that can handle both aerial and aquatic environments using flapping wings and water jets.

Anyway, we’ve seen plenty of flapping wing flying robots, and plenty of robots that use fins to propel themselves underwater, but mixing those two things is tricky, because you can’t optimize for (say) both large static lifting surfaces for flightand low drag surfaces for swimming.

Here are a couple figures to help explain this: Here’s how the authors explain the change in angle of attack: In air [image (B) above], the vehicle flies at a net angle of attack, activating the wing area from the fuselage to midspan.

It can do this in confined spaces or in the middle of large waves, making it much more versatile than seaplane-type robots that need something analogous to a runway to get flying: An AquaMAV could dive into an isolated area of water, where it could collect water samples and return underwater video footage.

To get a water jet to work in a robot, the researchers designed a 40-gram thruster, powered by liquid CO2,capable of launching a 70-gram vehicle to speeds of 11 m/s in about a third of a second.

To fire the thruster, a supercapacitor-powered shape memory alloy actuates a valve on the CO2 tank, and the gas escapes through a carbon fiber cylinder that’s open to the water at the other end.

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