Robots and drones were mechanical analogue of the chameleon language

South Korean engineers have created a mechanical analogue of the tongue of the chameleon, which is able to almost instantly grab them insects and draw them to himself. The device consists of a clockwork spring, which suddenly puts the metal strip forward and then pulls it back with a clutch, which can move between two driven discs. They demonstrated that capture is able to move out and back in less than 550 milliseconds, and its weight is small enough for installation on a popular quadcopter. Article published in the journal IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters.

Drones are increasingly used not only for shooting but also for the delivery of small parcels. For example, it is convenient to use for faster delivery of blood and other materials for medical analysis from one clinic to another. While until now, drones have a big problem with the flight, which usually is about half an hour. And since the drone deliverymen or hang out, or sit down for a fence and delivery of cargo, it spent a substantial part of the capacity of the battery. Recently, Japanese engineers showed the draft station, which fasten on flying without stopping the drone’s parcel, adapting to its trajectory, but to use this method of intake and discharge of cargo is necessary to modify ground infrastructure.

Lee Dong-Joon (Dong-Jun Lee) and Jong-Gwan-Pil (Gwang-Pil Jung) of Seoul national University of science and technology created a prototype of the capture, which works with high speed and has a fairly light weight to be installed on a typical quadcopter. The developers said that with the establishment of a mechanism they were inspired by the tongue of the chameleon — he is able to stretch over a distance of one and a half body length of the animal, with speeds up to three and a half meters per second. Thanks to this extraction does not have time to react to an attack. A key feature of the language created by the authors of the mechanism is not only a forward velocity but also in the fact that after the goal they nearly with the same speed and with almost no delay going back.

Engineers have implemented the fast speed movement in both directions by using two actuators and moveable between a clutch. In the center there is a metal strip roulette, twist into a spiral. On the sides of the tape are two pressing-wheel-drive. And between these wheels installed movable unit with a wind-up coil spring. Due to the fact that it is attached to the actuator side, it can move from side to side and in contact with the gears of one of the two actuators, thereby determining the direction of movement of the tape. This made it possible to use two separate spiral or two motors, and simply switch the same unit between the actuators.

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