Ultralight flying objects with collective behaviour

Flying is a recurring theme in the Bionic Learning Network. We have drawn on our knowledge from the BionicOpter and eMotionSpheres projects to develop the bionic butterflies. They combine the ultralight construction of artificial insects with coordinated flying behaviour in a collective.

Coordinated flying thanks to indoor GPS with infrared cameras

Ten cameras installed in the space detect the butterflies using the two infrared markers on their wings. The cameras transmit the position data to a central master computer which coordinates the butterflies from the outside. The intelligent networking system creates a guidance and monitoring system which could be used in the networked factory of the future.

In order to replicate their natural role model as closely as possible, the eMotionButterflies feature highly integrated on-board electronics. They are able to control their wings individually with precision and thereby perform fast movements. As the wings overlap slightly, an air gap is created between them when they beat, which gives the artificial butterflies their special aerodynamics.

Highly integrated research platforms with minimum use of materials

With the eMotionButterflies, we are taking another step in the Bionic Learning Network in the areas of miniaturisation, lightweight construction and functional integration. The butterflies offer an impressive combination of intelligently used mechanics and the smallest possible power units in the tightest installation space. The reduced use of materials enables lifelike flying behaviour.