Research Papers

A Review of Bird-Inspired Flapping Wing Miniature Air Vehicle Designs

[+] Author and Article Information
John W. Gerdes, Satyandra K. Gupta

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Institute for Systems Research,  University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740

Stephen A. Wilkerson

 U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005

J. Mechanisms Robotics 4(2), 021003 (Apr 04, 2012) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005525 History: Received May 24, 2010; Accepted October 11, 2011; Published March 28, 2012; Online April 04, 2012

Physical and aerodynamic characteristics of a bird in flight offer benefits over typical propeller or rotor driven miniature air vehicle (MAV) locomotion designs in certain applications. A number of research groups and companies have developed flapping wing vehicles that attempt to harness these benefits. The purpose of this paper is to report different types of flapping wing miniature air vehicle designs and compare their salient characteristics. This paper is focused on mechanical design aspects of mechanisms and wings. The discussion presented will be limited to miniature-sized flapping wing air vehicles, defined as 10 to 100 g total weight. The discussion will be focused primarily on designs which have performed at least one successful test flight. This paper provides representative designs in each category, rather than providing a comprehensive listing of all existing designs. This paper will familiarize a newcomer to the field with existing designs and their distinguishing features. By studying existing designs, future designers will be able to adopt features from other successful designs. This paper also summarizes the design challenges associated with the further advancement of the field and deploying flapping wing vehicles in practice.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Wings , Flight , Mechanisms
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Figure 1

Gustave Trouve’s ornithopter [4]

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Figure 2

University of Delaware ornithopter [5]

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Figure 3

Microbat prototypes [6]

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Figure 4

University of Maryland small bird [8]

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Figure 5

University of Maryland big bird [9]

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Figure 6

Osaka Slow Fliers Club MAV [10]

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Figure 10

Unimorph actuated independently controlled wings [14]

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Figure 11

Functional schematic for four-bar unimorph actuation [14]

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Figure 12

MEMS wings with PVDF sensing capability [20]

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Figure 13

WSU MAV wings exploit clap and fling at the sides and the top of the wingbeat [29]

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Figure 14

Passively stable hovering MAV [30]

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Figure 15

Wings with one-way compliance

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Figure 16

Double pushrod flapping mechanism [6]

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Figure 17

Double pushrod from Microbat [6]

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Figure 18

Chung Hua University MAV double pushrod mechanism [34]

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Figure 19

Delfly I front mounted double crank

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Figure 20

Single crank functional schematic [35]

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Figure 21

UMD single crank mechanism

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Figure 22

Parallel single cranks [29]

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Figure 23

Delfly II side mounted pushrod mechanism

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Figure 24

Delfly micro side mounted pushrod mechanism

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Figure 25

OSFC side mounted pushrod mechanism




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