Reconstructing Full-Field Flapping Wing Dynamics from Sparse Measurements

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IOP Publishing


Flapping insect wings deform during flight. This deformation benefits the insect’s aerodynamic force production as well as energetic efficiency. However, it is challenging to measure wing displacement field in flying insects. Many points must be tracked over the wing’s surface to resolve its instantaneous shape. To reduce the number of points one is required to track, we propose a physics-based reconstruction method called System Equivalent Reduction Expansion Processes (SEREP) to estimate wing deformation and strain from sparse measurements. Measurement locations are determined using a Weighted Normalized Modal Displacement (NMD) method. We experimentally validate the reconstruction technique by flapping a paper wing from 5-9 Hz with 45° and measuring strain at three locations. Two measurements are used for the reconstruction and the third for validation. Strain reconstructions had a maximal error of 30% in amplitude. We extend this methodology to a more realistic insect wing through numerical simulation. We show that wing displacement can be estimated from sparse displacement or strain measurements, and that additional sensors spatially average measurement noise to improve reconstruction accuracy. This research helps overcome some of the challenges of measuring full-field dynamics in flying insects and provides a framework for strain-based sensing in insect-inspired flapping robots.




Johns, W., Davis, L., & Jankauski, M. (2020). Reconstructing full-field flapping wing dynamics from sparse measurements. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 16(1), 016005.
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