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The thorax of an insect has direct flight muscles that can independently control the flapping amplitude, relative phase, and mean position of its left and right wings. This feature allows insects to modulate lateral dynamics during hovering flight, resulting in high flight maneuverability. This paper introduces the development and characterization of a novel flapping mechanism for MAVs, denoted as AIFM (Asymmetric In-phase Flapping Mechanism), that is capable of achieving controlled, asymmetric in-phase wing flapping as inspired by similar features in insects. The system consists of two 4-bar mechanisms that create basic flapping motions and two RRPR mechanisms that control the asymmetric flapping motion. The kinematics of the mechanism was investigated and optimized in such a way that enables the mechanism to produce reliable, in-phase wing motion during asymmetric flapping flight. The kinematics of the wings was evaluated both computationally and experimentally. It was shown that asymmetric wing flapping can be successfully achieved without affecting the in-phase flapping motion.
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