Robotic Falconry: Winged Unit Lands On You!

It doesn’t have four rotors, but this advanced-glider is every bit as impressive as the most complicated of quadrotor offerings. It’s the first glider that can successfully perch on your arm. We can’t help but think back to the owl in the original Clash of the Titans movie.

The team at the Aerospace Robotics and Control Lab of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is happy to show off the test flights they’ve been conducting. We’ve embedded two of them after the break which show the unit landing on this person’s arm, and on the seat of a chair. The image above shows a montage of several frames from the flight, and gives us a pretty good look at the articulated wings. You can seen them both bent in the middle of the flight to zero in on the landing zone. In addition to this there are flaps on the trailing edge of the wings and tail. The flight path is a bit wandering since the glider has no vertical tail to stabilize it.

Now if they can make it harvest power from overhead electrical lines they’ve got a spy-bird which can be dropped from a plane (or from a drone).

[via Technabob]

14 thoughts on “Robotic Falconry: Winged Unit Lands On You!

  1. This is okay, but not nearly as impressive once you realize that it is just a radio controlled (by a computer) glider. (At least it appears that it is externally monitored and controlled). I will be much more interested when they build an autonomous version, but baby steps are required first.

    1. The Quad rotors that everyone is in love with demonstrated by UPENN are also controlled remotely. What’s more they can’t preform their incredible feats outside of the Mo-Cap arena that was created for them. Yet they are still very impressive.

      1. The mo-cap in both cases is not even built but purchased from a company called Vicon Vision Systems….500Hz with sub-millimeter accuracy. Neat looking, but that is it.

    1. Vicon Vision System……purchased external sensing IR cameras….~500hz with millimeter accuracy….nothing special from what I can see…..just smoke and mirrors….money attraction….

      1. Even given that they use an off-the-shelf motion capture system, putting together a control system that can do this is nontrivial, and pretty useful in the real world to boot.

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