Swiss blimp that propels itself with electronic muscles, like a fish:

"The actuators on the airship work - like biological muscles - in an agonist-antagonist configuration. While the actuators on one side of the airship are activated, the corresponding actuator on the other side contracts. Thus the body and tail fin are excited in an undulating movement which propels the airship like a fish through the air. The EAPs can be actuated with varying frequency, activation voltage and a phase shift between the body and the tail fin movement. In fluid-dynamical similarity to the rainbow trout, the appropriate motion pattern (deflections, frequency and phase shift) were defined and verified by wind tunnel tests. The expected travelling velocity was calculated. The "skeleton" and passive parts of the airship consist of an ultra-light carbon-sandwich structure and a model-airship hull material developed by aeroix GmbH in Berlin. The electrical supply and control system was developed at Empa and everything was optimized for minimum of weight. The flight of this fish-like airship can be controlled with a joy stick connected to a ground-based portable computer. The flight control data are processed by a LabView program and transmitted by WLAN to the receiver system in the gondola on the airship."

Watch the video here (embedding was disabled)

(via MakeZine)

Views: 1713

Comment by Greg Fletcher on April 18, 2010 at 8:13pm
The video link is messed up or something? It's frozen.
Comment by Greg Fletcher on April 18, 2010 at 8:14pm
It looks very cool . I wnt to see it in action ;))
Comment by Scott James on April 18, 2010 at 8:17pm
I think that everyone has clicked on the photo, (thinking it's a video)):

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on April 18, 2010 at 8:24pm
I've cropped it so people aren't confused
Comment by Travis on April 18, 2010 at 8:45pm
Reminds me of the Festo Air Ray (another blimp robot).
Comment by Dale on April 18, 2010 at 9:30pm
does Sparkfun sell Stacked dielectric elastomer actuators? might be out of the hobbyist range though. maybe they're on the government shelf next to the hammers?
Comment by Travis on April 18, 2010 at 9:39pm
I haven't seen any on SparkFun. If they did, I'd be all about grabbing a few -- especially the Artificial Muscle Inc EPAM variants.
Comment by Stephen McAmis on April 18, 2010 at 9:39pm
I can see these things with some cosmetic changes in malls, amusement parks and the larger aquariums very soon... VERY very cool.

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