search

UMD    CORE




Inspired by the beauty and flying ability of birds, Leonardo da Vinci strived centuries ago to create a human-powered flapping-wing flying machine. But his designs, which da Vinci explored in his Codex on the Flight of Birds, were never developed in any practical way. Even today, mimicking bird flight still presents challenges due to the physiological complexity of a bird’s flapping wings.

For years, researchers at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering have been moving ever closer to imitating bird flight with Robo Raven, the first bird-inspired unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that has successfully flown with independent wing control.

Lena Johnson (’14, M.S. ’16), who is pursuing her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, is working on the current iteration of the aerodynamic robotic bird, known as Robo Raven V. The doctoral student believes Robo Raven gives her a platform to make the impossible possible by designing a UAV with greater controllability and likelihood of sustained wing-powered flight than other similar vehicles.

Johnson hopes that this version’s expanded maneuverability, developed takeoff capability, and added propellers for thrust production will aid the UAV in areas she’s researching, such as ecological monitoring and disaster response.

Johnson also wants to share her work on Robo Raven in local schools and libraries in hopes of inspiring other young students that they, too, can make the impossible possible through engineering.

“There are so many kids in disadvantaged communities who have never even dreamed of becoming an engineer. It takes just one role model or exposure through an after-school robotics program to turn on that light of possibility,” says Johnson.

Robo Raven was pioneered in 2008 by Clark School Professors S.K. Gupta and Hugh Bruck. Gupta and Bruck wanted to develop a robotic bird that was quick and multifaceted for many applications, both civilian and military.

Learn more about robotics at the Clark School! Visit the Institute for Systems Research and the Maryland Robotics Center websites.



Related Articles:
It takes a swarm: These robots talk to each other, make decisions as a group
Student autonomous drone racing team takes 2nd place at IROS
Special Delivery
Helping robots remember
Do Good Robotics Symposium to explore technologies that benefit society and the planet
Student autonomous robotics competition slated for June 2019
Season's Greetings from the Clark School!
UMD Team's Autonomous Drone Takes 3rd in International Race
Hogan Administration Launches Work Group to Pursue MTI Recommendations for a Possible Autonomous Technology Center
Hacking Tomorrow's Tech World

September 17, 2018


«Previous Story  

 

 

Current Headlines

Five Years of WIAA at the University of Maryland

Aerospace Engineering Professor Emeritus Appointed Director of Defense Research and Engineering

Student autonomous drone racing team takes 2nd place at IROS

Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics Celebrates Five Years

Univeristy of Maryland hosts AIAA Region 1 Student Conference

UMD Transplant Organ Flight Named Invention of the Year

Dust in Space

Map to Recovery

Envisioning the Future of Urban Transportation

Found in Space

 
 
Back to top  
CORE Home Clark School Home UMD Home Aerospace Engineering