Meeting Abstract

S11.10  Friday, Jan. 7  Wing Assisted Locomotion of a 25 g Running Robot PETERSON, K.*; BIRKMEYER, P.; DUDLEY, R.; FEARING, R. S.; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Berkeley

Current arguments for both cursorial and arboreal theories of vertebrate flight origins derive from limited fossil evidence, the adult behavior of extant flying animals, and the developmental stages of already volant taxa. By contrast, use of a 25 gram running robot (DASH+Wings) allows direct investigation of the consequences of simple flapping wings for locomotor performance in both running and flying. Removal of wings, as well as the use of inertial spars and gliding wings, provides experimental controls for the same locomotor platform. We use accelerometers and high speed cameras to measure the performance of this hybrid robot running over flat terrain as well as its ability to move up inclines. To examine consequences of wing flapping for aerial performance, we measure lift and drag forces on the robot positioned within a wind tunnel, and use a camera to measure its glide performance in free flight. The addition of flapping wings allows the running robot to improve its horizontal translational velocity from 0.68 m/s to 1.28 m/s, and increases the maximum incline angle of ascent from a 10% to 30% grade. Additionally, preliminary measurements show a 7.5 degree improvement in glide slope between a flapping and a gliding robot. We also find an increase in the lift to drag ratio of the robot when the wings are flapping compared to the gliding case for all measured angles of attack and air speeds. We discuss these findings in the context of existing hypotheses for the origins of flapping flight in vertebrates.