The DelFly Micro only weighs 3 grams and has a size of 10 cm from wing tip to wing tip. This makes it the smallest flying ornithopter carrying a camera in the world!
The DelFly Micro is very useful for the progress of science. Designing it already brought together knowledge from fields such as aerodynamics, mechanics, electronics, and camera technology. Furthermore, the DelFly Micro is an ideal platform for studying both the aerodynamics and autonomy of small, flying ornithopters.
It can advance our understanding of aerodynamics, since the simulation of ornithopter flight is still very problematic. The (real) flights with the Micro can be used to analyse the airflow around an ornithopter. Such an analysis should contribute to the improvement of simulations as well.
The camera of the DelFly is essential for improving the autonomy of small flying robots. It allows experimentation with new ideas from fields such as computer vision and artificial intelligence. The final goal of such experiments is to achieve flight without the intervention of a pilot.
In the DelFly project, Delft University of Technology follows a strategy of increasing refinement. The DelFly I had a size of 50 cm, DelFly II a size of 28 cm, and now DelFly Micro a size of 10 cm. The goal is to keep reducing the size of the DelFly, while always ensuring flying performance and an on-board camera. Real flight-experience helps the verification of theoretical insights in practice. It also indicates where theory should be adjusted, and consequently helps the construction of smaller DelFly's.
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