Technology

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

DiscoblogBy Brett IsraelNov 5, 2009 7:00 PM

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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

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