Revolutionary development in Small Drones Market: Newly developed Insect-Sized Drones have Better resilience and Dexterity

  • Analysis
  • 25-March-2021

Most insects have remarkable acrobatic skills and are resilient as well, which means that they can absorb getting bumped and swatted quite a few times. These traits help them navigate the aerial world, where they can counter wind gusts, obstacles, and general uncertainty of things. Researchers have long tried to develop these traits into flying robots.

Now, a researcher has built a system that is close to an insect’s agile characteristic. This may lead to a revolution happening in Small Drones Market as the newly developed insect-sized drones have unprecedented dexterity and resilience. These aerial robots are powered through a newly made soft actuator. It allows them to bear the brunt of real-life flight. It is hoped that one day these insects will come to aid humans by pollinating crops or enabling inspection of machinery in cramped places.

Traditionally, drones have always needed wide open spaces to move as they aren’t nimble enough to navigate confined spaces. Moreover, they are also not robust so as to withstand collisions in a crowd. Most drones today are quite big and need to be flown outdoors.

Hence, the researchers tried to make the new drone more resilient using soft actuators instead of the hard ones that tend to be fragile. These new actuators are made up of thin rubber cylinders coated by carbon nanotubes. When the voltage goes through the carbon nanotubes, an electrostatic force is generated, which in turn squeezes and extends the rubber cylinder. Repeated contraction and elongation help the drone to move its wings faster. Actuators can flap around 500 times per second, helping drones have insect-like resilience. The drone can now be hit while it is flying and can still recover. It also has the ability to do aggressive maneuvers like somersaults in the air. It weighs only 0.6 grams, like a bumble bee. The drone looks a little like a tiny cassette with wings, and the researcher involved is now trying to give it further a shape of a dragonfly.

This new development would help in research for subjects like physics and biology. This can be achieved through reverse engineering, wherein a flight of insects can be understood through models made of them. Its applications may help navigate complex machinery to ensure safety and functionality. Especially those machines that have enclosed spaces that need to be looked into, and it is not possible for humans or big drones to locate the problem. These drones may also turn out to be helpful for research and rescue operations after a disaster.

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