Scientists from the United States introduced a model of a flying robot-snake. It was developed by observing real reptiles.
Engineers were inspired by flying kites, which can overcome through the air up to 24 m, controlling the direction of their movement with special vibrations. According to a new article in the journal Nature Physics, it is more a strategy to stabilize their flight, rather than the evolutionary residue of the overall behavior of snakes. This work may ultimately lead to the creation of a new, improved control pattern for dynamic flying robots.
To study their structure, the University of Washington lab watched guinea pigs jumping from artificial branches attached to a tall stand. Engineers recorded movement as they glided through the air with four cameras. This allowed them to create 3D models of the position of the body in the middle of the flight and analyze the forces acting on the body and the basic dynamics of sliding.
The next step of the engineers was to create a three-dimensional model of a flying snake in the flattened sliding mode and study the laws of fluid flow by immersing the model in a tank with running water. Researchers were also able to model patterns of airflow patterns. They found that movement during flight plays an important role – the snake “expands” its body to make itself more aerodynamic.
Based on these data, the team developed an “anatomically accurate” model of snake flight – a real robot can also be developed from it. They plan to introduce the first device by 2022.