Mechanical design and fabrication of a kinetic sculpture with application to bioinspired drone design

Andrew Lessieur, Eric Sihite, Pravin Dangol, Akshath Singhal, Alireza Ramezani

Biologically-inspired robots are a very interesting and difficult branch of robotics dues to its very rich dynamical and morphological complexities. Among them, flying animals, such as bats, have been among the most difficult to take inspiration from as they exhibit complex wing articulation. We attempt to capture several of the key degrees-of-freedom that are present in the natural flapping gait of a bat. In this work, we present the mechanical design and analysis of our flapping wing robot, the Aerobat, where we capture the plunging and flexion-extension in the bat's flapping modes. This robot utilizes gears, cranks, and four-bar linkage mechanisms to actuate the arm-wing structure composed of rigid and flexible components monolithically fabricated using PolyJet 3D printing. The resulting robot exhibits wing expansion and retraction during the downstroke and upstroke respectively which minimizes the negative lift and results in a more efficient flapping gait.

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