Winged jump‑gliding robot from Seoul National University utilizes a curved vein shape that allows for self‑locking.

Benefits

  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Increased performance

Applications

  • Aviation
  • Robotics

The Challenge

Jump-gliding is a specific locomotion style for robots that combines gliding and jumping movements and can increase energy efficiency and travel distance. To do this, the wings should be foldable, rapidly deployable, and resilient under aerodynamic forces. Traditional jump-gliding robots use linkages, springs, and actuators in their wings, which usually make the robot heavy and bulky, hindering their overall locomotion performance. Additionally, these wings cannot be rapidly deployed, making them unusable in certain high intensity situations.

Innovation Details

The robot was inspired by the wings of the ladybird beetle. It has a compact and lightweight wing system that is self-deployable due to a single curved joint, similar to how a tape measure is able to keep its shape. This joint stores elastic energy until released to sustain flight. The lightweight design allows the robot to travel farther, but is still sturdy enough not to buckle under large aerodynamic forces.

Image: Baek et al. / Seoul National University / Copyright © - All rights reserved

Illustration of ladybug‑inspired origami. Photo: Baek et al./Seoul National University.

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Biomimicry Story

Ladybird beetles have deployable wings that are carefully folded beneath a stiff outer barrier. The shape of the wing joints allow the wings to rapidly spring free when needed, usually within 0.1 seconds. The wings are also very resilient and sturdy, preventing them from folding or buckling when flapping at a high frequency. The secret to these wings is a unique tape-spring-shaped vein. When a ladybird beetle folds its wings, the vein deforms, allowing elastic energy to be stored inside it. This stored energy allows the wings to be quickly and easily deployed, and also allows it to lock in place without the need for additional components.