- SNAG is a 3D-printed robotic bird with falcon-inspired landing capability
- It has a motorized claw that can take-off, land and hold various branches
- Engineers claim SNAG can be used for wildlife monitoring and search and rescue
- Tests conducted in a forest in Oregon have shown that it can take off and descend from tree branches
Engineers have created a falcon-inspired robot that can take-off, land and hold branches like a real bird – and even grab objects in the air.
Developed by a team from Stanford University, SNAG (Orthodox Nature Inspired Aerial Graspers) mimics the impressive understanding of peregrine falcons.
In place of bones, the SNAG consists of a 3D-printed skeletal structure—with motor and fishing line in place of muscles and tendons—to complete 20 repetitions.
Thanks to the attached quadcopter drone, the SNAG can fly around in its quest to capture objects and settle on various surfaces.
Along with cameras and sensors, SNAG can be used to monitor climate, wildlife and natural ecosystems – for example in efforts to prevent wildfires, as well as for search and rescue efforts.
Stereotyped Nature-inspired aerial grasper (SNAG, pictured) takes after impressive understanding of peregrine falcons’ anatomy
SNAG (Orthodox Nature Inspired Ariel Grasper) mimics the impressive grasp of a peregrine falcon (pictured here)
Recent tests in the Oregon Forest have already shown that it can descend and descend from tree branches with the aid of its 3D-printed claws.
What is SNAG?
SNAG stands for Stereotyped Nature-Inspired Aerial Grasper.
It is a robot whose landing capability has been modeled after the peregrine falcon.
This includes a 3D-printed skeletal structure, as well as motors and fishing line in place of muscles and tendons.
SNAG includes a quadcopter drone that allows it to fly around.
Like a real bird, the SNAG can absorb the impact energy of landing on a branch and convert it into a ‘squeezing force’ to grasp the branch. The same mechanics allow the robot to grab objects like bean bags and tennis balls.
The creation details a new study published today in the journal science robotics,
Lead study author William Roderick from Stanford University said, ‘How birds fly and sit is not easy to imitate.
‘After millions of years of development, they make takeoff and landing so easy, even amidst all the complexity and variability of tree branches found in the wild.
‘Like birds, [SNAG] It has two legs that can walk independently. Also, like birds, this robot also has a rigid structure and a structure of legs which is acting like bones.
Birds can land on almost any branch, whether it’s strong, wet, covered with moss or bursting with branches—and robotically mimicking it was of great interest to Stanford engineers.
They say SNAG improves on current aerial robot designs, which have limited capabilities during flight or to capture real-world objects in order to save energy.
The researchers found that SNAG reaches as many landing materials as possible, including wood, foam, sandpaper and Teflon, the second smallest species of parrot. earlier studies The little bird
SNAG improves on current aerial robot designs that have limited capabilities when it comes to capturing real-world objects or sitting in flight to save energy
Each foot of the SNAG has a motor to move back and forth and in birds another motor to handle grasping, driven by tendon pathways around the ankle.
The grasping mechanism in the robot’s legs absorbs the landing impact energy and passively converts it into grasping force.
Once wrapped around a branch, the SNAG’s ankle lock and an accelerometer on the right leg trigger a balancing algorithm to stabilize it.
“It has motors that act like muscles and it transmits forces through tendons,” Roderick said.
SNAG is pictured here during various stages of take-off and landing on a tree branch along the ground
‘Once the robot hits the perch, an accelerometer in the leg tells the robot that the impact is in place and it should begin its balancing process.’
In rural Oregon, Roderick dispatched SNAG with a rail system that launched the robot over various surfaces, at predetermined speeds and orientations, to see how it performed in different scenarios.
With SNAG held, Roderick also confirmed the robot’s ability to catch hand-thrown objects, including dummy hunting, a bean bag, and a tennis ball.
Finally, Roderick and SNAG head to a nearby forest for some trial runs in the real world.
Shots of SNAG (bottom) landing compared to parrot (above) – the second smallest species of parrot
Experimenting with robotic design has also allowed Roderick and his team to study how aspects of real-life bird anatomy contribute to perching.
For example, they found no significant difference in performance between the two major types of toe configurations found in birds.
These two configurations are known as anisodactyl, which has three toes forward and one back, like a peregrine falcon, and zygodactyl, which has two toes forward and two back, like a parrot.
Future development work on SNAG will likely focus on what happens before landing, such as improving the robot’s situational awareness and flight controls.
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