Thursday, November 4, 2010

DLR Virtual flight on a robotic arm

Five metres above the ground, Andreas Knoblach from the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics starts a virtual flight in the Robot Motion Simulator.

The 10-metre-long track along which the robotic arm moves permits larger manoeuvres. The 'pilot' communicates with the team on the ground via radio and a camera. 

During the virtual flight he experiences the same forces as would affect his body during an actual flight. Credit: DLR.

Only Andreas Knoblach's legs hang out from under the cover of the 'cockpit'. They are dangling in five metres above the ground while the enormous robotic arm slowly swivels the virtual-reality 'capsule' and its occupant and moves along a track in front of a large screen.

Mountains, valleys and meadows are visible. Knoblach can see the same scene on a screen in front of him. He is about to begin a flight that simulates everything. It lasts only a few minutes and he has already turned upside down and back again.

The robotic arm moves forwards and backwards, swivelling the man at the joystick up and back down again. Finally the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) scientist ends up sitting upside down in the capsule while he flies virtually through the air in a twin-engine light aircraft, working his way through spectacular aerobatic manoeuvres.

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