Biologically Inspired Robots:
Flying Like a Fly


Dr Pakpong Chirarattananon,
Assistant Professor,
Department of Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering (CRA)


Using only tiny nervous system, flying insects are able to perform superlative aerodynamic feats such as deftly avoiding a striking hand or landing on flowers buffeted by wind. These amazing creatures inspire scientists and engineers to understand and translate this ubiquitous form of locomotion into man-made machines. In this talk, I will discuss challenges that arise and the ongoing research development in the fabrication and control of a millimeter-scale biologically-inspired flapping-wing robot. Challenges for controlled flight of a robotic insect are due to the inherent instability of the system, complex fluid-structure interactions, and the general lack of a complete system model. To this end, the dynamic model of a robot was developed. Flight controllers were designed and implemented. I demonstrated the first flight of a robotic insect. By using the adaptive and iterative learning control methods, various flight maneuvers that required millimeter-scale precision were also realized.