In this paper, we illustrate and study the opportunities of resonant ring type structures as wing actuation
mechanisms for a flapping wing Micro Air Vehicle (MAV). Various design alternatives are presented and studied
based on computational and physical models.
Insects provide an excellent source of inspiration for the development of the wing actuation mechanisms
for flapping wing MAVs. The insect thorax is a structure which in essence provides a mechanism to couple
the wing muscles to the wings while offering weight reduction through application of resonance, using tailored
elasticity. The resonant properties of the thorax are a very effective way to reducing the power expenditure
of wing movement. The wing movement itself is fairly complex and is guided by a set of control muscles and
thoracic structures which are present in proximity of the wing root.
The development of flapping wing MAVs requires a move away from classical structures and actuators. The
use of gears and rotational electric motors is hard to justify at the small scale. Resonant structures provide
a large design freedom whilst also providing various options for actuation. The move away from deterministic
mechanisms offers possibilities for mass reduction.