Robat Swoops!

A question that’s becoming standard with every new robotic advancement from the networked quadrotor swarms to the BigDog: Is this the beginning of your dreams or your nightmares? (VIDEO)

Brown University researchers announced last week that they successfully built a functioning robotic bat wing. Why, you may ask? Anyone who has ever stood under a bat house when the animals are active know that bats are extremely agile flyers, able to make complex aerial maneuvers in short distances at high speed. This agility comes from their precise control of their wings.

Bats “have so much complexity in their motion that they can do things that other flyers can’t do,” says Joseph Bahlman, a Brown graduate student who leads the project. “The theory that we’re developing here can be used to improve the efficiency of aircraft in general.”

Bahlman says that the research is also being pushed forward by widespread interest in micro aerial vehicles, small UAVs that can gain access and maneuver in tight spaces.

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