Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 17 News List

Japanese researcher unveils ‘hummingbird robot’ 日本研究人員展示「蜂鳥機器人」

AFP

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that it would never fly, but Japanese researchers say they have developed a “hummingbird robot” that can flutter around freely in mid-air with rapid wing movements.

The robot, similar in size to a real hummingbird, is equipped with a micro motor and four wings that can flap 30 times per second, said Hiroshi Ryu, a researcher at Chiba University east of Tokyo.

It is controlled with an infrared sensor and can turn up, down, right or left.

The robot, which weighs 2.6g, can fly in a figure of eight more stably than a helicopter with rotor blades, said Ryu, 46, who specialises in developing robots based on living creatures.

“The next step is to make it hover to stay at one point in mid-air,” Ryu said, adding that he also plans to equip it with a micro camera by March 2011.

The robot, whose development cost has topped 200 million yen (US$2.1 million), may be used to help rescue people trapped in destroyed buildings, search for criminals or even operate as a probe vehicle on Mars, he said.

“First, we need to learn about effective mechanisms from natural life forms, but we want to develop something to go beyond nature eventually,” Ryu said.(AFP)

如果你一點也不看好這項研究,沒有人會跟你計較;不過日本研究學者表示,他們已研發出一種可以快速振動翅膀、在半空中飛來飛去的「蜂鳥機器人」。

東京東部千葉大學的研究學者劉浩說,這種機器人配備一個微小馬達和四片每秒能振動三十次的翅膀,體型和真正的蜂鳥相當。

它藉由一個紅外線感應器接收指令,能向上、下、左、右方移動。

專門研發生物機器人的劉浩(四十六歲)說,這個重二點六公克的機器人能飛「8」字型,穩定度比螺旋槳直昇機更好。

劉說:「下一步是要讓它能停留在空中一個定點盤旋。」他還說他計畫在二O一一年三月前,為其配備一個微型攝影機。

他說,這個機器人的研發成本高達兩億日圓(兩百一十萬美元),能用來協助援救倒塌建築中的受困者、尋找罪犯,甚至做為火星探測車。

劉說:「首先,我們得認識自然界生物體形的有效機制,但我們最終的希望,是研發出優於自然生物的機器人。」

(法新社╱翻譯:袁星塵)

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