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Published July 16, 2017 | Accepted Version
Book Section - Chapter Open

Reducing Versatile Bat Wing Conformations to a 1-DoF Machine


Recent works have shown success in mimicking the flapping flight of bats on the robotic platform Bat Bot (B2). This robot has only five actuators but retains the ability to flap and fold-unfold its wings in flight. However, this bat-like robot has been unable to perform folding-unfolding of its wings within the period of a wingbeat cycle, about 100 ms. The DC motors operating the spindle mechanisms cannot attain this folding speed. Biological bats rely on this periodic folding of their wings during the upstroke of the wingbeat cycle. It reduces the moment of inertia of the wings and limits the negative lift generated during the upstroke. Thus, we consider it important to achieve wing folding during the upstroke. A mechanism was designed to couple the flapping cycle to the folding cycle of the robot. We then use biological data to further optimize the mechanism such that the kinematic synergies of the robot best match those of a biological bat. This ensures that folding is performed at the correct point in the wingbeat cycle.

Additional Information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing AG. First Online: 16 July 2017. We would like to thank the team of graduate and undergraduate students from aerospace, electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for their contribution to construct the initial prototype of B2. The biological motion capture data set was provided by Dr. Kenneth Breuer and Dr. Sharon Swartz from Brown University. We would like to thank them in their assistance with this, as well as José Iriarte-Díaz for compiling the data. This work was supported by NSF Grant 1427111.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023