Robotic Cockroach Launches Robotic Bird Off of Its Back

We’ve written before about the advantages of multi-modal robots: by combining two different forms of locomotion in one platform, you can take advantage of (say) the efficiency and endurance of a ground robot with the range and versatility of a flying robot. However, designing one robot that can walk and fly tends to be both complicated and inefficient, which is why hetergeneous robot teams are often more appealing. Instead of trying to cram every capability into one robot, you just use several different robots with different specializations and find some way of getting them to work together. Like this robotic cockroach that can serve as an aircraft carrier for a robotic bird.

You’re looking at UC Berkeley’s VelociRoACH (not the super speedy X2 version that we also wrote about today, just the normal speedy one) giving a running start to the H2Bird ornithopter micro aerial vehicle and successfully launching it off of a carrier framework. The H2Bird (which weighs a smidge over 13 grams and can fly for a minute and a half) can’t get itself off the ground on its own; it needs to hit about 1.3 m/s with an angle of attack of between 35 and 40 degrees,…[Read more]