Jellyfish-like flying machine takes off

Jellyfish-like flying machine takes off

Mimicking sea creatures instead of insects leads to better hovering

By Gabriel Popkin, 18:03 PM January 14, 2014

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Hummingbirds do it, bees do it. But for tiny robots, hovering has proven a challenge.

Flapping-wing robots known as ornithopters can replicate insect wing motions, but these designs require complicated mechanisms to keep the machines stable. So mathematicians Leif Ristroph and Stephen Childress of New York University departed from insect mimicry. The pair designed a 2.1-gram, 10-centimeter-wide hovering machine that rises in air like a jellyfish in water.

Four teardrop-shaped flap...

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