Insect-Like Flying Robot Operates in Chaotic Environments Without Sensors

Gimball is a spherical flying robot developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) that buzzes around the most unpredictable, chaotic environments - all without the need for fragile detection sensors. This resilience to injury was inspired by insects. Gimball is protected by a spherical, elastic cage which enables it to absorb and rebound from shocks. It keeps its balance using a gyroscopic stabilization system consisting of a double carbon-fiber ring that keeps the robot oriented vertically, while the cage absorbs shocks as it rotates. It is powered by twin propellers and steered by fins. When tested in the forests above Lausanne, Switzerland, it careened from tree trunk to tree trunk while staying on course.