Purdue University researchers have built a bio-inspired hummingbird robot that was trained by artificial intelligence and weighs in at just 12 grams, while utilizing unsteady aerodynamics to hover, just like its real-life counterpart. Called the “Purdue Hummingbird,” this tiny flapping-wing robot has a pair of 30-40Hz flapping wings driven by only two actuators. By interpreting the wing loading feedback and its variations, it can detect the presence of environmental obstacles (walls, wind, stairs, etc.). For added flight stability, a robust controller was custom-designed for handling unforeseen disturbances during the flight. Read more for a video and additional information.
These robots feature3D-printed bodies, carbon fiber wings and laser-cut membranes. Plus, they can lift more than its own weight, up to 27 grams. “The robot can essentially create a map without seeing its surroundings. This could be helpful in a situation when the robot might be searching for victims in a dark place – and it means one less sensor to add when we do give the robot the ability to see,” said Xinyan Deng, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue.