The BionicOpter is a flying dragonfly-shaped robot that can perform the same complex flight maneuvers as the real insect. Designed by the German company Festo, which previously produced a floating robot that propels itself through the air like a jellyfish. The 19-inch-long robotic insect can fly in all directions, hover and glide without beating its wings.
The dragonfly is the aerial stunt of the insect world. It can hover, fly backwards and glide without moving its wings. They align their wind stroke planes to be nearly normal to the direction of the total force produced during the movements called the thrust. Festo claims it has mastered the dragonfly’s flying technique. The company’s remote-controlled robot features four wings that are equipped with amplitude controllers, which allow the intensity of the thrust to be regulated and enable the insect to assume almost any position in space.
The robot is just 19 inches long and weights 175 grams and has a wingspan of just over 27 inches. Its wings are made of foil and carbon fiber and can be moved individually by small servo-motors. It has 13 degrees of freedom — nine from the movement of wings and four from head and tail.
The whole flight mechanism is controlled by a single ARM microprocessor. The technology used in the making of the BionicOpter could revolutionize the aviation industry by advancing the precision and flight performance of both commercial and military planes and helicopters.