Control of a biomimetic flapping mechanism for a hovering micro air vehicle Conference Paper uri icon


  • A four-bar based flapping mechanism was designed and built to emulate insect wing kinematics employing passive wing pitching. Detailed experimental parametric studies were performed using various wing structural designs to optimize the passive pitching kinematics to increase steady lift. The maximum lift produced by a single wing was around 55 grams at a flapping frequency of 12 Hz. A flapping MAV weighing 56 grams was built employing this flapping mechanism and the optimized wings, which demonstrated tethered hover without on board power or control mechanisms. A wing kinematics modulation based control methodology was developed and implemented on the vehicle. The mechanism comprises of actuators that can both differentially and symmetrically vary the mean flapping area and the tilt of the flapping plane both laterally and longitudinally. Using a combination of these control strategies, the roll, pitch and yaw capabilities of this control mechanism were successfully demonstrated on a test stand. A motion capture system, VICON, was utilized to track the motion of the wing and actuators that yielded quantitative information on the response of the wing kinematics to different actuator motions.

published proceedings

  • American Helicopter Society International - AHS Specialists' Meeting on Unmanned Rotorcraft and Network Centric Operations 2011

author list (cited authors)

  • Seshadri, P., Benedict, M., & Chopra, I.

complete list of authors

  • Seshadri, P||Benedict, M||Chopra, I

publication date

  • December 2011