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Drone Explodes into Maple Seed Microdrones in Midair

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The drone flies in a stairwell during a test flight.

Roboticists at the Singapore University of Technology and Design have been experimenting with a bio-inspired drone that can split off into smaller drones.

Credit: Singapore University of Technology and Design

Researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have developed samara-inspired drones to help deliver airborne payloads in a simple, reliable, inexpensive manner.

The samara, the distinctive seed pod of the maple tree, is essentially an unbalanced wing that spins.

While natural samaras do not steer, the researchers added an actuated flap to the drone version, whose movement at just the right time results in enough controllability to aim the drone for a specific point on the ground.

The researchers developed a system in which five samara drones are attached to one another in a configuration that looks similar to a helicopter rotor. Once the multi-drone device is in the correct position, the five individual samara drones can split off on their own missions.

From IEEE Spectrum
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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