A team of engineers have developed a new drone that is unlike any previous drone we have seen in the market. Named Bat-Bot, the new drone looks and flies like a real bat and might be the next big thing in the drone technology.
Developed by Engineers at Caltech and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the bat shaped drone weighs only 3.3 ounces and incorporates a silicone membrane stretched over its carbon-fiber skeleton.
The sensors and a computer are fitted in the head and five micro-sized motors are placed in the bot's backbone to help in the flights.
This is unlike the traditional drone structure that is basically a multi-rotor helicopter lifted and propelled by four rotors placed at four corners.
The Bat-Bot is capable of autonomous, flapping flight and as per the team led by Soon-Jo Chung at Caltech, can dramatically increase the flight time and safety of future drones.
The team also says that as it does not use propellers to fly, Bat-Bot is less dangerous to people and could be used in a variety of fields in the near future, construction sites, for example, without putting workers at risk.
The team in a report to The Personal Enterprise mentions that they first had to create an ultra thin silicone-based membrane to replicate a bat's wings.
The bot is designed to alter its wing shape by flexing, extending and twisting at its shoulders, elbows, wrists and legs. The silicone wings fill and expel air to help the Bat-Bot mimicking the mammal's flight to keep it airborne.
As noted, drones have been in news since their first flight. They are portable, come in a variety of shapes/sizes, can be controlled from ground via remote controls and let you capture stunning aerial shots.
While we have seen some amazing sophisticated drones in last two years, their basic design remains the same involving a multi-rotor formation to support the flight operations.
That said, the researcher's team behind the Bat-Bot is quite optimistic and says that the new design could dramatically increase the flight time and safety of future drones. The team is also working to improve the design and plans to add cameras, GPS and more sophisticated control algorithms to increase the flight distance of the Bat-Bot.
Stay tuned for more updates on GIZBOT.
Image Source: The Personal Enterprise