Tech

They turn a drone into a bird of prey (yes, with legs)

21st century mythology: half drone, half bird

Cutkosky has spent years studying the physiognomy of animals to Apply the natural mechanisms that nature has created to robotics. Together with his colleague Lentink, they developed a ‘perching robot’, that is, a robot capable of grasping and holding onto a branch just as parrots do in their natural habitat.

The invention has been coupled to a drone. Thanks to this new mechanized element, the machine can grab, carry and drop objects, as well as land on land abruptly without fear of damaging the small aircraft.

To come up with the perfect design, the two researchers have studied a multitude of species of birds of all kinds. They captured images of varieties of all sizes to understand the way these animals land, and so on. outline the ideal design for the drone with articulated legs. After also studying the response of various materials, Cutkosky and Lentink concluded that the drone, or rather, the SNAGHe had to approach each landing in a different way.

Based on the Peregrine Falcon

With the information gathered on the ornithological study, the two university companions got down to work. The SNAG design is primarily based on the peregrine falcon legs. But instead of bones, the structure is made of flexible materials created with a 3D printer. They have needed a total of twenty versions until the final model is reached. And of course, they have not only had to recreate the bones. They have also had to simulate muscles and tendons of the animal with a complex set of electric motors and fishing line.

Each leg of the SNAG has a motor to be able to move and another to do grip functions. The mechanism has different positions programmed depending on whether it is going to perform gripping or landing tasks. When SNAG goes to ground, a mechanism absorbs the energy of the impact at the same time that the “tendons” of the mechanism are tensioned in less than 20 milliseconds, allowing it to grip any branch. Subsequently, the CPU that controls the entire system executes a series of algorithms to stabilize the drone and keep it still using the information it collects from the accelerometers.

What is the use of a drone with legs?

SNAG is not intended to deliver Amazon packages, although Bezos will be making plans to buy a few by now. The drone is almost a portable laboratory, because it has a good arsenal of sensors temperature, humidity and radiation. The idea is that it can help detect all kinds of environmental problems in nature, such as changes in the biological cycle of some species, alterations in the climate or fires.

The project of these two engineers has been received with rave reviews in the scientific world. Despite this, these two researchers and their teams want to continue developing this technology to ensure that SNAG has the as many applications as possible.

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