Flying & Other hybrid Robots

Pushing the limits are what humans good at, right from the beginner of human era. We wanted to explore land, dive into water and obviously fly. Observing the way a bird flies, Wright brothers invented the first machine which carried a man, flew like a bird and descended successfully.

In the robotic world, similar experiments are made to mimic those flying machines to create UAV’s (Unmanned Ariel Vehicles). Flying robots provides access to 3 dimensional spaces that no other environment can offer.

There are different flying robots that you can be built; Helicopters, Airplanes, Robots with wings (biologically inspired?), balloons and many more. But before you start making one, know that they are not easy. Here are few tips to give you a good start.

Before making one, learn how to fly them (yes, purchase a readymade one and try). If you just want to enjoy the fun of flying a machine, better off buy a remote controlled (RC) helicopter or a RC airplane and cheer, because building one is tedious, expensive, and worst of all, it almost but not always fails. Some of the major aspects you need to consider before building a flying robot are:

  1. It takes tremendous amount of energy to lift a robot off ground. Hence, carry out an extensive research on battery to be used, battery weight, battery life etc., Similar research is required if you are using other forms of energy sources (like a fuel powered propeller)
  2. Weight of the robot is a major setback. Design your robot in such a way that the thrust generated is greater than the gravitational pull generated because of your robot’s weight
  3. Three dimensional controls are fun to watch, but designing control mechanisms for all those three dimensions (x-axis, y-axis and z-axis) are tedious. Sensors like accelerometer and gyro might come to the rescue
  4. Most UAV’s are remote controlled which uses a specific frequency to control them. Make sure you don’t crash another airplane


  1. First and foremost, flying robots are fun to build and fly
  2. Experiments on Remote controlled robots are going on for years. This means there is a huge community which can help you if you like to build one.
  3. These robots are extremely useful as surveillance robots


  1. Building a flying robot is expensive when compared to purchasing one
  2. Requires extensive research before designing and building one (and even then it might fail)
  3. A minor crash can break parts and make your robot irreparable. The parts required to build these flying robots are very expensive making a crash even worst.

Robotic Arm, Industrial robots and Hybrid robots

Robot arm is usually a programmable arm, similar to human arm. Although these do not fall under mobile robotics they can be implemented on a mobile robot so that it can explore its environment. Robot arms can either be autonomous or remote controlled (which are the most common ones, manufactured and used across industries). A typical robot arm has six degrees of freedom which are made by seven metal sections joined by six joints.

Robot arms are used because they are fast, precise and do much more work compared to a human being. Different types of robot arms are available based on the type of work they involve in. For example, a Cartesian robot is used for assembly operations, Spherical robot is used for handling machine tools, and articulated robot arms are used for welding, spray painting and other activities. Robot arms are generally designed for specific industrial applications.

Hybrid robots are those which are designed by combining the qualities of two or more robots. For example a hovercraft robot can be designed to traverse either on land or in water. Another robot might be able to walk under water and also swim. A third one might fly and crawl. The combinations are enormous and it is left to you to combine and create wonders.

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