【“撞不坏”的无人机 遇障碍可吸收冲击】

【“撞不坏”的无人机 遇障碍可吸收冲击】瑞士洛桑联邦理工学院(EPFL)开发了一种既具刚性又有弹性的超灵活无人机。其设计灵感来自昆虫翅膀和日本的折纸艺术,研究人员在刚性板之间设计了一层“弹性膜”,空中飞行时,结构紧密连接,保持刚性足以承受自身重量及螺旋桨推力。当无人机撞上障碍物时,板状结构会拉开弯曲,变得柔韧来吸收冲击力。这一突破性设计使结构具有在坚硬和灵活间变换的特殊机械性能,应用前景广泛。

Incredible insect-inspired drone has wings that collapse 'like origami' when it hits obstacles so it never breaks

  • When airborne the drone remains rigid enough to support its own weight
  • When it runs into something, it becomes flexible enough to absorb the shock
  • Engineers say the revolutionary design was inspired by insect wings and origami

Scientists have created an insect-inspired drone with wings that collapse 'like origami' when it collides with obstacles mid-flight.

The new drone is so flexible that it can absorb shocks without breaking before springing back to its initial shape.

Engineers say the revolutionary design was inspired by insect wings and the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, making it both stiff and flexible.

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It could revolutionise drone technology by making the flying vehicles more durable to crashes and other collisions.

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) developed the new hybrid origami drone.

When airborne, the structure remains rigid enough to carry its own weight and withstand the thrust of the propellers.

However, when the drone crashes into something, it will absorb the impact by becoming flexible – a resilience that comes from its unique combination of stiff and elastic layers.

To achieve this, researchers stretched an 'elastomer membrane' between rigid plates.

When there is no external force applied to the system, it will hold together and give the structure its stiffness.

But when enough force is applied, the plates draw apart and the structure can bend.

'When we make a drone, we can give it specific mechanical properties,' said project lead scientist Dr Stefano Mintchev from EPFL.

'This includes, for example, defining the moment at which the structure switches from stiff to flexible.'

Dr Mintchev said structures that are stiff and flexible at the same time have a range of other potential applications, adding that he has previously used the same technology to create a soft-touch gripper.

The gripper softens once it reaches a certain level of pressure so as not to break the object it is picking up.

This also means it cannot pick up a load that exceeds its capacity.

'The current trend in robotics is to create "softer" robots that can adapt to a given function and operate safely alongside humans,' said Professor Dario Floreano who was also involved in the research.

'But some applications also require a certain level of rigidity.

'With our system, we have shown that you can strike the right balance between the two.'

The research, published in the journal Science Robotics, is being conducted in Professor Dario Floreano's Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL.

原文链接:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5990885/Incredible-insect-inspired-drone-wings-collapse-like-origami.html


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