Hummingbird Simulator

A Matlab/Simulink model of flight dynamics of a ruby-throated hummingbird. The model is based on rigid body dynamics and quasi-steady aerodynamics, assuming flat and rigid wings. A simplified (cycle-averaged and linearized) model for control analysis is also included. Click here to download the model.

Related publications:

  • M. Karásek, “Robotic hummingbird: Design of a control mechanism for a hovering flapping wing micro air vehicle,” PhD Thesis, 2014.
    abstract = {The objective of this thesis was to develop a control mechanism for a robotic hummingbird, a bio-inspired tail-less hovering flapping wing MAV. The mechanism should generate moments necessary for flight stabilization and steering by an independent control of flapping motion of each wing. The theoretical part of this work uses a quasi-steady modelling approach to approximate the flapping wing aerodynamics. The model is linearised and further reduced to study the flight stability near hovering, identify the wing motion parameters suitable for control and finally design a flight controller. Validity of this approach is demonstrated by simulations with the original, non-linear mathematical model. A robotic hummingbird prototype is developed in the second, practical part. Details are given on the flapping linkage mechanism and wing design, together with tests performed on a custom built force balance and with a high speed camera. Finally, two possible control mechanisms are proposed: the first one is based on wing twist modulation via wing root bars flexing; the second modulates the flapping amplitude and offset via flapping mechanism joint displacements. The performance of the control mechanism prototypes is demonstrated experimentally.},
    author = {Kar{\'{a}}sek, Mat{\v{e}}j},
    pages = {191},
    school = {Universite Libre de Bruxelles},
    title = {{Robotic hummingbird: Design of a control mechanism for a hovering flapping wing micro air vehicle}},
    year = {2014}
  • M. Karásek and A. Preumont, “Simulation of Flight Control of a Hummingbird Like Robot Near Hover,” in Engineering Mechanics 2012, Svratka, Czech Republic, 2012, p. 607–619.
    abstract = {Interest in Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) capable of hovering is gradually increasing because they can be a low-cost solution for security applications or remote inspection. Much research has centred on designs inspired by insects and hummingbirds, where the propellers are replaced by flapping wings. It is assumed that that flapping wings improve, at small scales, both manoeuvrability and energy efficiency. This numerical work based on quasi-steady aerodynamics applies to a hummingbird robot with a pair of flapping wings and a 12 cm wingspan. We construct a control derivatives matrix that estimates the effect of each wing kinematics parameter on the cycle averaged wing forces and forms the key stone of the flight controller. We implement the controller in a simulation model with rigid body dynamics and "continuous" (i.e. not averaged) aerodynamics. The simulation results show that the controller stabilizes the robot attitude and controls the flight in 4 DOF (translation in any direction + yaw rotation) by modifying only 2 wing kinematic parameters per wing-the flapping amplitude and the mean wing position. Other control parameters are possible. Thus, various mechanical design solutions can be studied in the future.},
    address = {Svratka, Czech Republic},
    author = {Kar{\'{a}}sek, Mat{\v{e}}j and Preumont, Andr{\'{e}}},
    booktitle = {Engineering Mechanics 2012},
    pages = {607--619},
    title = {{Simulation of Flight Control of a Hummingbird Like Robot Near Hover}},
    url = {{\_}Karasek{\_}M-FT.pdf},
    year = {2012}