Researchers have invented a small, winged drone known as DelFly Nimble. This drone, according to them is the way for radically different drones which imitate how insects fly. Moreover, the flying robot could one day assist them to learn more about how insects pull off fast, agile maneuvers.

The developers tell that the robot can fly for about five minutes, weighing only 29 grams and with a 33-centimeter wingspan.                                                                                       

Using the four flapping wings, beating 17 times per second, the drone is capable of holding an extra payload of up to four grams. This could mean a camera system or additional sensors.

DelFly’s flapping wing motion is targeted to imitate the difficult styles of flying insects. It can function maneuvers involving 360-degree flips, loops, and barrel rolls.

Karasek, one of the researchers, states, “One thing we cannot do with real insects is to look into their brains while they’re flying. So, we can find what they are doing, how they move their wings, but we do not really know why they are doing that”

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Biologists participated in the invention of DelFly Nimble. Florian Muijres’ group of researchers are inspecting flying insects’ multiple wing motion patterns and aerodynamics.

They also expect to understand more about their neuro-motor systems and sensory activities. He hopes that they have the potential for novel applications.

De Croon says, “It is feathery and safe that it would be really good to have this flying in the surrounding even around people or above people”.

“For instance, we think of applications such as greenhouses, where it can look at the plants and see if it requires more water or for example, some minerals or something, but it can also fly in warehouses to maintain the stock.”

Watch a video of Winged Drone That Mimics Insect Flight: