Hovering robots could get more lift by ‘treading water’ in the air

Moving like an insect may not be the most efficient way for tiny flying robots to hover – they get more lift by taking advantage of vortices of air that form under their wings

Technology



11 August 2022

Robots with wings designed to mimic insects may hover better by using them in a unnatural way

PjrStudio/Alamy

Small robots could get more lift when they hover by moving their wings in a “treading water” motion instead of flapping them like hovering insects do.

In an experiment with a robotic wing, Swathi Krishna at the University of Southampton in the UK and Karen Mulleners at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne found that flying micro-robots could hover up to 50 per cent more efficiently if they used a wing …

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