Bio-Inspired, 3D Printed Feather Transducers for in Flight Aerodynamic Force and Vibration Sensing

Ruowen Tu, Rémy A. Delplanche, Lawren L. Gamble, Daniel J. Inman, Bret W. Tobalske, Henry A. Sodano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Birds are outstanding flyers with high aerodynamic efficiency and agility, especially under dynamic flight conditions. Flight feathers play a key role in achieving these remarkable performances based on their flexible and hierarchical structures. To develop bio-inspired micro air vehicles (MAVs), researchers have adopted rigid feather-shaped panels, membrane-type artificial feathers and natural feathers as part of the morphing wing platform. In this paper, bio-inspired, 3D printed feathers with hierarchical structures resembling natural flight feathers are presented. Moreover, piezoresistive and piezoelectric sensing components are embedded in the 3D printed feather rachis, which can provide sensory information on the aerodynamic forces and feather vibrations. The 3D printed feather transducers are characterized through vibration testing and wind tunnel testing, and are finally integrated into dried, spread wings for aerodynamic force and vibration sensing of the entire wing. Therefore, the 3D printed feather transducers can potentially be used on future MAVs to improve aerodynamic efficiency and allow fly-by-feel sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XIV
EditorsRaul J. Martin-Palma, Mato Knez, Akhlesh Lakhtakia
ISBN (Electronic)9781510671942
StatePublished - May 9 2024
EventBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XIV 2024 - Long Beach, United States
Duration: Mar 25 2024Mar 26 2024

Publication series

NameBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XIV


ConferenceBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XIV 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLong Beach


  • 3D printing
  • bioinspiration
  • bird
  • feather
  • sensing


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