Passive Maple-seed Robotic Fliers for Education, Research and Entrepreneurship

D.M. Aslam, A. Abu-Ageel, M. Alfatlawi, M.W. Varney, C.M. Thompson, S.K. Aslam


As inspirations from flora and fauna have led to many advances in modern technology, the concept of drawing ideas from nature for design should be reflected in engineering education. This paper focuses on a maple-seed robotic flier (MRF) with various complexities, a robotic platform modeled after the samaras of maple or ash trees, to teach STEM concepts to K-12 learners. Experiments using MRFs were also designed and incorporated into an undergraduate engineering course. Details are given on how the MRFs have been incorporated into K-12 camps and the undergraduate course. Unique features of MRF development are (a) very simple (using LEGOs and paper) to extremely complex (incorporation of microcontrollers and sensors) learning suitable for pre-K children, free-will adult learners, workforce training, undergraduate and graduate students, (b) research-oriented education, (c) entrepreneurship education and (d) trans-disciplinary education and research. Using microfabrication and nanofabrication technologies, the long range goal is to mass produce MRFs for surveillance in hard-to-reach and dangerous environments.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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