Shopping Cart  |  Intelligence Center


HOME PRODUCTS & SERVICES MEDIA CENTER CONSULTING SERVICES FREE TRIALS & DEMOS LOG IN CONTACT US

AEROSPACE & DEFENSE ELECTRONICS
AIRLINES, COMMERCIAL AVIATION & MAINTENANCE
AVIATION ENGINES, PROPULSION & AUXILIARY POWER UNITS
INDUSTRIAL & MARINE GAS TURBINES
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY MARKETS & BUDGETS - EURASIA, ASIA, AUSTRALIA & PACIFIC RIM
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY MARKETS & BUDGETS - EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY MARKETS & BUDGETS - NORTH & SOUTH AMERICA
MILITARY AIRCRAFT
MILITARY VEHICLES, ORDNANCE, MUNITIONS, AMMUNITION & SMALL ARMS
MISSILES & MISSILE SYSTEMS
NAVAL SHIPS AND OPERATING SYSTEMS
NON-US AEROSPACE/DEFENSE COMPANIES & CONTRACTS
REGIONAL, BUSINESS & GENERAL AVIATION
ROTORCRAFT
SPACECRAFT, LAUNCH VEHICLES & SATELLITES
US AEROSPACE/DEFENSE COMPANIES & CONTRACTS
Drones and Unmanned Systems - Air, Sea, Land, Micro & Robot Systems
UTILITIES, ROTATING MACHINERY & POWER GENERATION

Drones and Unmanned Systems - Air, Sea, Land, Micro & Robot Systems
 
U.S. ARMY DEVELOPING ROBOTIC INSECTS?
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Source: US Army

WASHINGTON - A mechanical fly buzzing into an enemy operations center for surveillance may still be the stuff of science fiction, but perhaps not for long.

Dr. Ron Polcawich and his team at the Army Research Laboratory, known as ARL, in Adelphi, Maryland, have been pushing innovation in the area of tiny actuators and developed a pair of tiny robotic wings measuring only 3 to 5 centimeters in length.

The wings are made of lead zirconium titanate, referred to as PZT, a material that creates electric charge under an applied pressure or can create strain (i.e. motion) under an applied voltage or electric field. The wings bend and flap when voltage is applied to the PZT material.

"We demonstrated that we can actually create lift," Polcawich said. "So we know this structure has the potential to fly."

Polcawich heads up the piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems, or PiezoMEMS team, at ARL. They have designed ultrasonic motors that measure only 2 to 3 millimeters in diameter.

They have also designed sets of tiny robotic legs for a millipede-like robot that simulate crawling when voltage is applied to the PZT material.

While the legs and wings are currently functional, Polcawich says it may take another 10 to 15 years of research and development to actually produce fully-functional robotic insects.

For instance, algorithms are needed to simulate how a flying insect stabilizes itself, he said. In a gust of wind a fly "doesn't instantaneously stabilize itself," Polcawich said. "It will tumble, tumble, and then stabilize itself."

Creating this type of artificial intelligence or "cognitive ability" will take time, he explained. A number of different systems must be integrated in order to develop a realistic tiny robot that functions like an insect.

Harvard University's Ron Wood is actually further along in developing a robotic fly, Polcawich said. But Harvard's "RoboFly" is almost three times larger than the one ARL is working to develop. And the smaller a mechanical device, the more intricate are the aerodynamic problems.

Nevertheless, Polcawich says more collaboration with Wood and other academic and industrial researchers might speed up the research.

Such collaboration is the goal of a pilot program launched this year by ARL called "Open Campus." The program aims to cut red tape and open unclassified areas of ARL to more academic and industry partners.

"The Open Campus effort will hopefully streamline the creative process," Polcawich said. He hopes it brings additional cooperative agreements with universities and private companies.

While micro robotics research is interesting, Polcawich said it does not enjoy the highest level of funding. In fact, he said it has the lowest level of funding among projects currently being researched by his team. Many of the team's other projects rank higher in priority.

One of those projects involves precision microelectromechanical systems gyroscopes that are currently undergoing test and evaluation. The gyroscopes might eventually be used to aid in the navigation of missiles, munitions, or even dismounted Soldiers if GPS goes down for any reason, Polcawich said.

His team has undertaken a number of research projects dealing with position, navigation and timing, known as PNT. In some of the projects, inertial measurement units, or IMUs, report a device's velocity and orientation using a combination of gyroscopes, accelerometers and magnetometers.

"We're looking at possibly putting IMUs on boots,"Polcawich said, for individual Soldier navigation. "Our focus in the IMU world is really kind of figuring out how to make things small, lightweight, low-power-consuming; ultimately for Soldier navigation and small-scale robotics."

His PiezoMEMS team of 10 researchers are also currently focusing on developing components for:

--tactical radios

--radars

--IED-defeat systems

--PNT

Earlier this year, President Obama recognized Polcawich for his last five years of research and development. The Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering was awarded to him.

Polcawich said he just enjoys being able to "push the state of the art" in micro fabrication.

Source:  U.S. Army
Source Date: December 17, 2014
Posted: 12/18/2014

 

NOTICE TO USERS

Warranty: Forecast International makes no guarantees as to the veracity or accuracy of the information provided. It warrants only that the information, which has been obtained from multiple sources, has been researched and screened to the best of the ability of our staff within the limited time constraints. Forecast International encourages all clients to use multiple sources of information and to conduct their own research on source data prior to making important decisions. All URLs listed were active as of the time the information was recorded. Some hyperlinks may have become inactive since the time of publication.

Technical Support: Phone (203)426-0800 e-mail support@forecast1.com

Subscription Information: Phone (203)426-0800 or (800)451-4975; FAX (203)426-0223 (USA) or e-mail sales@forecast1.com

Aerospace/Defense News Highlights is published by Forecast International, 22 Commerce Road, Newtown CT 06470 USA. Articles that list Forecast International as the source are Copyrighted © 2014. Reproduction in any form, or transmission by electronic or other means, is prohibited without prior approval from the publisher.

Forecast International invites all interested companies to submit their announcements and press releases for review and inclusion in our Intelligence Letters.

Contact: Ray Peterson, Director of Research
E-Mail: Ray.Peterson@forecast1.com
Phone: 800-451-4975
FAX: 203-270-8919



HOME PRODUCTS & SERVICES MEDIA CENTER FREE TRIALS & DEMOS CONTACT US PRIVACY STATEMENT TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Forecast International © 2014 22 Commerce Rd Newtown, CT 06470 USA Phone: 203.426.0800 Toll-Free: 800.451.4975 (USA & Canada) Fax: 203.426.0223 info@forecast1.com