LCSR Seminar: Xinyan Deng “Learn to Fly Like a Hummingbird by an At-scale Bio-inspired Robot: The Highly Robust, Resilient, and Maneuverable Flapping Flight”
Flying insects and hummingbirds demonstrate remarkable aerial maneuverability, robustness, and resilience to their environment and their morphological changes. Upon a looming threat, hummingbird can perform a rapid 180-degree escape turn in just six wingbeats; Hawk moth can adjust to real-time wing area loss during hovering; Migrating butterflies can tolerate wind gusts disturbances while flying thousands of miles. The interest in micro air vehicles capable of hovering and fast maneuvers has led to several efforts to develop bio-inspired insect and hummingbird robots. However, it is only through the understanding of their underlying flight mechanisms can we create novel robots with key bio-inspired principles that allow them to approach the performance of their natural counterparts. To this end, we use a combined approach of dynamics and control theories, fluid experiments, and robotic platforms. In this talk I will highlight our recent findings including: 1) Learning extreme maneuvers such as rapid escape and tight body flips on an at-scale hummingbird robot equipped with just two actuators; 2) Sensing through flapping wings and their resilience to cluttered environment and dynamic morphological damage; 3) Flapping wing in turbulence and its gust mitigating potentials.
Xinyan Deng is an Associate Professor at the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. She received her B.S. degree from the School of Electrical Engineering and Automation at Tianjin University, and her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. Her background is in controls and robotics, and her research interest include the principles of aerial and aquatic locomotion in animals, bio-inspired robots, and cyber physical security of autonomous systems. She received the NSF CAREER Award in 2006 on flying insect and robot research. She received the B.F.S. Schaefer Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award from Purdue University in 2015. Her work is highly interdisciplinary and has appeared in top robotics, biology, fluids, and computer science journals and conferences. She served as the Co-Chair for the Technical Committee on Bio-robotics of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society from 2009-2013. She has chaired and co-chaired varies IEEE and ASME conference workshops, NSF workshops, conference symposiums and sessions on bio-inspired robotics. Her research has been funded by federal agencies including NSF, AFOSR, AFRL, and ONR.