The Robo-Raven, as the solar-powered, remotely piloted surveillance aircraft is called, was designed and built at the University of Maryland’s Maryland Robotics Center — an interdisciplinary research establishment in the university’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. The center posted a video of a test flight this week.
The Robo-Raven “already attracts attention from birds in the area which tends to hide its presence,” said John Gerdes, a mechanical engineer with the Vehicle Technology Directorate at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
Seagulls, songbirds and sometimes crows tend to try to fly in formation with the robotic bird during testing, but birds of prey, such as falcons and hawks, take a much more aggressive approach, he said.
“Generally we don’t see them coming,” Mr. Gerdes said on the center’s website. “They will dive and attack by hitting the bird from above with their talons, then they typically fly away.”
The Robo-Raven’s wings flap completely independently of each other and “can be programmed to perform any desired motion,” enabling the bird to carry out aerobatic flight maneuvers, such as diving and rolling, never before possible.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!