Many insights can still be gained from the flapping flight of nature’s flyers, particularly from how they can effortlessly transition between flight modes and maneuver in obstacle-strewn environments. Furthermore, they are able to do this without the typical control surfaces found in manmade vehicles. Many theories have been postulated on how this is accomplished and they often involve control of individual wing position and stroke velocity. As such, direct sensing of wing motion both in flapping and in rotation would be desirable. In this work, we look at implementing wing motion sensing through the use of optical sensors. We develop sensing designs for both the transmissive and reflective sensor types, present design reasoning, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of their use. Finally, we employ the sensors on the wing of a flapping wing MAV capable of power autonomous flight and demonstrate successful sensor tracking of general wing motion.

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