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Re-STOL Micro Ornithopterswith Four Strategies for Improvement

Lung-Jieh Yang


Regarding to the 20-cm wingspan flapping microair-vehicles (MAVs) or ornithopters, how to prolong the operation time and improve the flight control is very critical to their roadmap of development. Based on using the available technology and commercial transducer devices, this work presents four new features of ornithopters and proves them feasible. The 1st feature is repeatable short take-off and landing (re-STOL) so that the ornithopter can stop flapping in the air and automatically falls on the ground with resetting to the good gesture of take-off. The 2nd feature is to recharge the onboard Lithium battery by flexible photo-voltaic (PV) thin film on the tail. Recharging can be done either during flight or on the ground if the background light intensity is enough for PV devices to work. The 3rd feature is toward the semi- or fully autonomous flight control of ornithopters. It is realized by integrating gramweighted microelectronic devices including Arduino-based micro-processors, MEMS inertial measurement units (IMUs) and mini servo actuators. Longitudinal pitching control and altitude control are proposed herein. The 4th feature is to develop new flapping mechanisms with large flap angle and no phase lag
between two flapping wings. The above four newly developed features of ornithopters can preliminarily solve their current four shortcomings, i.e., vulnerable to gust wind, short flight endurance, hard to autonomously control and small payload, to great extent.

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