AirBurr is a flying robot designed for constrained, cluttered spaces. Its spring-based cage protects it from damage. Even after crashing on walls and other things, it just picks itself up and takes off.
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Did You Know?
Researchers have created about a dozen AirBurr versions, which have names like V1-Hovermouse, V4-Crashy, and V6-Sticky.
AirBurr can use its retractable legs to stand up from any possible position it lands, or crashes.
- Equipped with retractable arms for self-righting after crashes. Able to navigate by bumping into the environment or following a light source.
- 70 cm | 27.6 in
- 35 cm | 13.8 in
- 35 cm | 13.8 in
- 0.35 kg | 0.7 lb
- N/A km/h | mph
- Standard: three-axis accelerometer and gyroscope (for inertial stabilization), ultrasonic sensor (altitude detection), four photodiodes (to detect leg position and external light sources). Optional: three-axis high-g accelerometer (collision force detection), miniature optic flow sensors (anti-drift), Hall-effect-based contact sensor embedded within protective cage.
- Coaxial dual brushless DC motor (thrust), two servos (control surfaces), and four brushed DC motors with custom gearbox (legs).
- 1350-mAh lithium-polymer battery, 10 minutes of flight.
- Two 16-bit microcontrollers. Custom wireless communication for telemetry and data logging.
- Custom software written in C for embedded microcontrollers.
- DEGREES OF FREEDOM (DOF)
- Carbon fiber and aramid inner frame; carbon fiber rods and laser-sintered plastic for protective structure.
The AirBurr project was born when researchers at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) began observing how animals fly. Birds and insects often collide with windows and other obstacles, but they are built to survive and recover from such crashes, unlike most existing flying robots. The first AirBurr was a 25-gram wing-based platform, and it has since gone through more than 10 major revisions, gaining an order of magnitude in weight! In its evolution, AirBurr has been able to crash, stand up, stick to walls, follow light sources, and, perhaps most important, generally entertain its makers. The final goal is building a version capable of navigating even more complex and constrained environments, such as caves or collapsed buildings.