People Innovation Excellence

Novel Wings and Jet Thrusters for Swimming, Flying Robots

By Evan Ackerman

Multimodal robots are robots that are designed to be able to get around on different types of terrain. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to pretend that the word “terrain” doesn’t explicitly refer to land, because we’ll be looking at some concepts for robots that can handle both aerial and aquatic environments using flapping wings and water jets.

The first paper we’ll be taking a look at is “A Novel Degree of Freedom in Flapping Wings Shows Promise for a Dual Aerial/Aquatic Vehicle Propulsor,” by Jacob S. Izraelevitz and Michael S. Triantafyllou, from MIT. The authors point out that there are a few species of birds that are quite good at both flying and swimming, including puffins, cormorants, puffins, auks, puffins, and puffins. Of these birds, puffins are definitely the cutest and best.  …[Read more]


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