David Coleman holding robotic hummingbird | Image: David Coleman

David Coleman and Dr. Moble Benedict’s paper titled “A Truly Biomimetic Hover-Capable Flapping-Wing Robot” won the best paper award in the Advanced Vertical Flight session at the 2018 American Helicopter Society Annual Forum.

Coleman, a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, presented his paper among 17 other presenters in the session that focused on novel revolutionary concepts to achieve vertical flight. The paper was recognized as the most important technical contribution to this field and was subsequently selected for session best paper award.

The paper focused on systematically quantifying the effectiveness of two different pitch control techniques in stabilizing the robotic hummingbird for hovering flight: tilting the wing plane of flapping, and shifting the average wing stroke position longitudinally. This is the first time that both of these control techniques, which are the same methods used by real hummingbirds to control pitch, have been incorporated in the same flying robotic platform and the resulting stability quantified.

See a video demonstrating the flight of his robotic hummingbird.

Coleman works under the guidance of assistant professor Benedict, who directs the Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory at Texas A&M.