MonoCopter Modeled After Maple Leaf

Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the aerodynamics of a maple leaf and used their findings to create a high-performance micro air vehicle

1 min read

Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the aero-dynamics of a maple leaf and used their findings to create and optimize a high-performance Micro Air Vehicle. Early results show that this 2 DoF MAV can potentially outperform more complicated helicopter and ornithopter style MAVs.

The following video shows the most recent work, showing its high performance and controllability.

From the creators:

The culmination of 3.5 years of research has led to controllable monocopter that can autorotate like a maple seed (Acer diabolicum Blume) and fly like a helicopter (hover and forward flight). The vehicle, invented at the University of Maryland, Aerospace Engineering Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory and Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, is the smallest and most capable to date as it meets most of the challenges set forth by DARPA's nano-air-vehicle program.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/v/u23Hqq8QbeE&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&feature=player_embedded&fs=1 expand=1]

The extended video goes into much more detail, prototype history, and even a demonstration of autonomous control.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/v/sbuGCgc-JCM&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&feature=player_embedded&fs=1 expand=1]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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