The new resilient design helps robot bees to better withstand crushing into solid objects.
Scientists at Harvard University have developed a robotic bee that flaps its wings using soft artificial muscles. The design enables the robot to survive crashing into hard surfaces.
The soft electric actuators are made of dielectric elastomers that have good insulating properties and high elasticity. The principle of their operation is based on their ability to deform when an electric field is applied.
The conductivity of the electrodes is quite high, and engineers control them using electric pulses.
For testing purposes scientists developed two-winged flying RoboBee models that can take off from horizontal surfaces. However, it proved to be too difficult to operate two-winged robots, and the developers created their four-winged version capable of a controlled flight. Even after hitting various objects, robotized bees were able to fly a specific place and land.
The new kind of small flying robots can be useful for area surveying during search and rescue operations.
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