The flying brick: A cautionary note on testing flying robots using guide wires

Michele Milano, David Jurjevich, Ronald Adrian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A simple experiment demonstrates that an average vertical force can be produced by a small vibrator motor attached to a frame constrained to slide vertically on guide wires. The vertical force produced is sufficient to make the sliding element hover, similarly to a biologically inspired robotic insect. We show that this effect depends on the natural resonance frequency of the guide wires and the nature of the mechanical coupling between wires and sliding element. Based on the result of this experiment, we recommend that a control experiment should be performed in order to reach unambiguous conclusions concerning the actual flying capabilities of robotic insects tested using this kind of methodology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-428
Number of pages3
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Actuators
  • Aerial robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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