We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Inspired by Maple Seeds, a Robotic Whirligig Takes To The Skies

By Brett Israel
Nov 5, 2009 7:00 PMNov 20, 2019 12:07 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Introducing the maple-seed-inspired Ulrich flyer, the world's first controllable robotic monocopter. The monocopter's inventors studied the way a maple seed whirls and twirls as it falls to the ground, and designed their flyer based on that biological blueprint. In this video, watch the little aircraft rise through the air with its single blade spinning furiously--accompanied by an epic soundtrack that ranges from techno to symphonic grandeur. Invented at

the University of Maryland's Aerospace Engineering Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory and Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center

, the small and capable craft meets most of the challenges set forth by DARPA's nano-air-vehicle program. The program asks engineers to invent ultra-lightweight vehicles that could come in handy for urban military missions. Read more about the copter over at Physorg.com. Related Content: 80beats: How a Maple Seed Twirls and Whirls and Stays Aloft Discoblog: Military Blob-bot to Ooze Its Way Past Enemy Lines Discoblog Gallery: Disarmingly Cute: 8 Military Robots That Spy, Fly, and Do Yoga

Video: YouTube / RoboSeed

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.