BionicOpter: inspired by the flight of the dragonfly


Inspired by the flight of the dragonfly

Lightweight construction and functional integration make it possible. Our Bionic Learning Network has incorporated the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly into the technology for the BionicOpter. Like its natural role model, the ultralight flying object can manoeuvre through space in all directions, hover on the spot and glide without flapping its wings. This means that for the first time, a model can master more states of flight than a helicopter, a motorised aircraft and a glider combined.

Highly integrated lightweight construction

This unique flight behaviour is made possible by a design approach that has already played an important role in the SmartBird. Components such as sensors, actuators and mechanics, as well as control and regulation technology, are installed and coordinated with each other on board in the tightest of spaces.

With a wingspan of 63 centimetres and a body length of 44 centimetres, the artificial dragonfly weighs only 175 grams. The wings are constructed from a carbon fibre frame and covered with a thin film. The battery, nine servo motors and a powerful ARM micro controller are integrated in the ribcage, as are the sensors and radio modules. The structure of elastic polyamide and terpolymer makes the entire system flexible, ultralight and yet extremely robust.

Thirteen degrees of freedom for unique flight manoeuvres

In addition to controlling the shared flapping frequency and the rotation of the individual wings, amplitude control is used in each of the four wings. The pivoting of the wings determines the direction of thrust. Amplitude control is used to regulate the amount of thrust. When these are combined, the smartphone-controlled dragonfly can assume almost any position in the space.

Process reliability and real-time communication

Whether in cutting-edge bionic technology solutions or in day-to-day industry, we believe that the principle of ongoing diagnosis guarantees operational reliability and process stability. During flight, software therefore continuously records sensor data, evaluates it in real time and thereby recognises complex events and critical states.

BionicOpter: the nine degrees of freedom of the wings mean that each of them can be specifically set and moved

Individually controlled: the nine degrees of freedom of the wings mean that each of them can be specifically set and moved