Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Flight Of The RoboSwift Micro-Airplane Is A Success

Date:
March 6, 2008
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
The RoboSwift, the micro-aircraft inspired by the swift, has made its first flight. The small, quiet aircraft is equipped with observation cameras that can be used in the future to study birds or to conduct surveillance of groups of people or vehicles.

Roboswift in flight. The RoboSwift steers by sweeping back one wing more than the other. The difference in wing position allows RoboSwift to make very sharp turns.
Credit: G.Ackermans, Wageningen UR

The RoboSwift, the micro-aircraft inspired by the swift, has made its first flight. In recent months, aerospace engineering students at Delft University of Technology have developed the aircraft in cooperation with the Experimental Zoology Group of Wageningen University, Netherlands. The small, quiet aircraft is equipped with observation cameras that can be used in the future to study birds or to conduct surveillance of groups of people or vehicles. The National Police Services Agency (KLPD) has announced that it is going to financially support the development of the RoboSwift.

Related Articles


Between 10 and 15 March, the group of students who developed the RoboSwift will be competing in an international contest in India for micro-aircraft: the American-Asian Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Competition.

KLPD

The Dutch National Police Services Agency (KLPD) is continually looking for innovations that are applicable to police work and sees possibilities in the Roboswift. It is therefore supporting the project financially. For example, the RoboSwift could help the police in case of accidents, demonstrations and in enforcement and surveillance.

Morphing wings

The RoboSwift is characterised by the continuously variable shape of its wings, known as ‘morphing' wings, which are modelled on the wings of the swift. These wings make the aircraft, like its living model, very manoeuvrable and efficient. As a result, the RoboSwift is the first aircraft in the world to have the wing properties of living birds. Wind tunnel tests have shown that it can come remarkably close to the exceptional flying ability of the swift.

With a wingspan of approximately 50 cm and a weight of less than 100 g, the RoboSwift is a good deal smaller than standard model aeroplanes. To gain elevation, it is equipped with a very quiet electric motor with a propeller. The silhouette of the RoboSwift is similar to that of an actual swift, which makes it less noticeable than other observation aircraft and helicopters. The ‘pilot’ is now being trained in birdlike flying behaviour, which will later include gliding flights. During gliding flights, the motor is turned off and the propeller folds up so the aircraft can fly even more quietly and save energy.

If equipped with micro-cameras that can observe in various directions, interesting applications for the RoboSwift are conceivable. For example, in the future the researchers hope to be able to observe wild birds from nearby without disturbing them by using birdlike aircraft such as the RoboSwift. This would allow new forms of biological research to be conducted. It would also make it possible to perform inconspicuous surveillance of groups of people or vehicles (crowd control).

‘Bio-inspired'

The students based the project on the findings of their supervisor, David Lentink of Wageningen University. In April 2007, with several co-authors he published a study in the journal Nature about the aerodynamic properties of the swift. During its lifetime, a swift flies a distance comparable to five roundtrips to the Moon and can remain in the air continuously for 7000 kilometres. Lentink and his associates discovered that the swift can fly so efficiently and manoeuvre so well because it continuously adapts the shape of its wings to the flying conditions. Studies such as his were the inspiration to develop aircraft based on bird's wings, which is known as ‘bio-inspired’ design.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "First Flight Of The RoboSwift Micro-Airplane Is A Success." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304192104.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2008, March 6). First Flight Of The RoboSwift Micro-Airplane Is A Success. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304192104.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "First Flight Of The RoboSwift Micro-Airplane Is A Success." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304192104.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins