What is Bat Bot and Why Use it?

In robotics, the bat is a challenging design because of all of the joints of this creature it is made to mimic. The flying mammal has been mimicked unlike ever before with Bat Bot, the world’s first bat robot. It has the appearance of a bat and acts like one too. But why does it exist – for what purpose?

The Origins of Bat Bot

This bat robot was designed by CalTech researchers. The robotics team, with Soon-Jo Chung at the head of it, first introduced Bat Bot to the world in February of 2017. The roboticists had quite the feat given the intricacy of a bat’s flight. The flight involves several joints with each movements of the mammal’s wings, so duplicating this motion was no small thing. The flight involves shoulder, wrist, elbow, and tail movements.

And while technology has come a long ways, being able to replicate all of the joint movements involved in bat flight was not possible for the CalTech team. Thankfully, they’ve still been able to create Bat Bot by mimicking the joints that are absolutely critical to bat flight. Determining which joints were essential involved much study of past biological studies by the team members.

More about Bat Bot’s Design

But while Bat Bot is less sophisticated than the real flying mammal, it does have an incredible wing span and looks amazing in flight. Being able to detect exactly what is differnet about the flight movement between Bat Bot and a real live bat would be easy to do for the average person.

And Bat Bot doesn’t rely on a remote control either. Instead, it runs via computers and sensors. This technological advancement can move its wings, dive down, and turn direction. It has flexible wings and is lightweight so that it’s not so clunky that it just stays on the ground. The skeleton is a combination of carbon fiber bones and 3D printed ball-and-socket joints.

The Purpose of Bat Bot

So, why is a bat robot even designed? After all, there are quadcopters out there that can fly around already on the market. One reason is that Bat Bot has a safer design since it doesn’t have a front propeller. Instead its wings are soft as they are covered with silicone membrane. And, well, technological innovations like this one are pretty cool.

What’s more, the bat robot was designed with energy efficiency in mind, more so than aerial robots already on the market. Its applications can include watching over construction sites and doing tasks in locations it’s not safe for humans to go. It could, for example, be useful to send in test nuclear reactors with extreme radiation levels.

And, well, a bat robot is something that’s worthy of nightmares for some people and we just had to write about. I mean, who would have thought at decade ago that Bad Bot would even be a thing?!

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