Conference paper

A 1.5g SMA-actuated Microglider looking for the Light

Unpowered flight can be used in microrobotics to overcome ground obstacles and to increase the traveling distance per energy unit. In order to explore the potential of goal-directed gliding in the domain of miniature robotics, we developed a 22cm microglider weighing a mere 1.5g and flying at around 1.5m/s. It is equipped with sensors and electronics to achieve phototaxis, which can be seen as a minimal level of control autonomy. A novel 0.2g Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuator for steering control has been specifically designed and integrated to keep the overall weight as low as possible. In order to characterize autonomous operation of this robot, we developed an experimental setup consisting of a launching device and a light source positioned 1m below and 4m away with varying angles with respect to the launching direction. Statistical analysis of 36 autonomous flights demonstrate its flight and phototaxis efficiency.

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