The goal of the research has been to design a robotic bird that utilizes principles of nature to optimize flight. Seagulls were the preferred model for the robot because they have a large wing span that provides a more steady flight and sheds a continuous wake vortex, creating lift on both the upstroke and down-stroke of flight [1]. Research has been done on the architecture of a seagull’s wing as well as the aerodynamic features of its comprising airfoils. The robotic wings developed will capture the architecture of the seagull wings with a variety of airfoils that improve lift and reduce drag and joints that enable bending on the upstroke in the flapping motion. A main focus of this research was to study how the seagull uses air flow to improve its flight performance. The fluid mechanics of the wing was analyzed for steady and unsteady flight using Fluent code to see how seagull adapts to different flow conditions. Using the developed robotic model of the wing attempts were made to achieve the necessary wing positioning that fully complied with that of the seagull during flight. Actuation of the wings was achieved using servo motors. Fabrication of the robotic prototype involved material selection for the fuselage, wing surface and skeletal structure. At completion of the prototyping, trials were performed using stereovision to study the complex effects of unsteady flow, and to verify the computational analyses undertaken.

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