Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates have bagged NASSCOM Budding Engineering Innovation (NBEI) Award 2012 for designing a Flapping Wing Robot (FWR), an electro-mechanical bird that flies by flapping its wings.

FWR designed by aeronautical engineering graduates Nishant Jain and Isha Atreja is capable of flapping its wings like bats and birds. It also performs various flight exercises.

Nishant and Isha, who passed out from MIT in July, 2012, had spent nearly Rs 60,000 from their own purse to develop FWR. They told told TOI that the NBEI award ceremony held in Pune in September was a significant milestone in their life. "The FWR belongs to the class of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

A unique feature of FWR is that, its wings produce both lift and thrust so as to keep it airborne and propel forward. This eliminates the need of using any separate thrust production mechanism thereby making it very lightweight in comparison to fixed-wing UAVs," Nishant explained adding that they have named it as Flyingspur.

"The flapping mechanism that we designed is a simplified variant of the complex biological wing. We have developed a 129gm and 927mm wingspan monoplane configuration. It is quite portable and can be controlled by using a remote controller. The portal FWR can be separated into three parts and can be taken anywhere. It consists of four subsystems including flapping wing, tail, battery and flight control system. The skeleton of Flyingspur is made up of carbon fibre rods and plates which make it quite sturdy and reliable," he said adding that the prototype is capable of flying at a low altitude.

They recalled that they had dedicated about two to three hours a day for the project. "We are in the process of improving the prototype. We will apply for a patent for the model once it is modified," he said. MIT aeronautical and automobile engineering department associate professor B Satish Shenoy was their guide.

Source: Times of India