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Bio-inspired ‘Flying Fish’ robot does aquatic jump and glides through the air

Sep 13, 2019, 9:53 am

Robotic Vehicles are one of the most noteworthy innovations that the human race have ever created. Scientists all around the world challenge themselves to come up with new technologies every day. These vehicles are capable of autonomously transitioning between various terrains and fluids and have received notable attention in the past decade. Recently British researchers revealed a bio-inspired robot named Flying Fish drone, which can use water from the environment to launch itself into the air.

This unique Flying Fish robotic system was devised by the Aerial Robotics Laboratory at Imperial College London. The reports state that the system “requires only 0.2 grams of calcium carbide powder in a combustion chamber, with the only moving part being a small pump that delivers water from the environment where the robot sits”.

After that, the water and calcium-carbide powder combine in a reaction chamber and hence produces burnable acetylene gas. The gas then pushes the water up like a jet and propels the robot clear out of the water like a jet.

According to the reports, the Flying fish drone robot can travel 85 feet through the air after taking off. The researchers also think that it could be used to collect samples in hazardous or cluttered environments which are out of human reach.

The entire research is led by Dr. Mirko Kovac, the director of the Aerial Robotics Laboratory at Imperial College. In a report, he further explained that:

Water-to-air transition is a power-intensive process, which is difficult to achieve on a small-scale flying vehicle that needs to be lightweight for flight. We have used water-reactive chemicals to reduce the materials that the robot needs to carry. Since the chamber fills passively and the environmental water acts as a piston, we can create a full combustion cycle with only one moving part, which is the pump that mixes the water with the fuel. – Dr. Mirko Kovac

The researchers have already tested the Flying Fish robot in various circumstances; like in a lab, in a lake, and in a wave tank. The results are positive as they discovered that it can escape from the water’s surface even under relatively rough conditions.

These kinds of low-power, tether-free robots could be really useful in environments that are normally time-and-resource-intensive to monitor, including after disasters such as floods or nuclear accidents – Raphael Zufferey, first author on the paper

We hope that the research gets much success and the ‘flying robot’ helps us in the future in many ways as possible.

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