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The Flapper Nimble+ is an Open Source winged robot

Apr 18, 2023 — by Giorgio Mendoza 651 views

Bitcraze recently featured the Flapper Nimble+ which is described as the “world’s first commercially available tailless flapping wing robot designed for academic research or entertainment.”

The Flapper Nimble+ is built around the Crazyflie Bolt 1.1 flight controller that uses an STM32 chip as the main application MCU and a nRF51 chip used for radio and power management: 

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Crazyflie Bolt 1.1
(click image to enlarge)

The Crazyflie Bolt 1.1 platform also includes a 3-axis gyro (BMI088), a 3-axis accelerometer (BMI088) and a high precision pressure sensor (BMP388).


Flapper Nimble+ Starter Kit
(click image to enlarge)

The Flapper Nimble+ is compatible with the Crazyflie ecosystem which includes Open-source firmware, Open-source libraries for high-level control, Wireless firmware updates and Wireless telemetry.

It was also stated that this robot is capable of flying autonomously using a positioning system. For example, the demo below uses the Lighthouse (sold separately) which is “an optically-based positioning system that allows an object to locate itself with high precision indoors.” The minimum number of base stations is 2. For more information, refer to the Bitcraze Blog.

Flapper Nimble+ demo

The Flapper Nimble+ is also compatible with other Crazyflie sensors and accessories. For a complete list refer to this page. There also 3D models for mounts available on this GitHub repository to customize the robot.


Flapper Nimble+
(click image to enlarge)

Some of the order package includes the Nimble robot, 1x 2.4 GHz transmitter with OpenTX/EdgeTX, 2x Wing set (1 + 1 spare), 2x 300mAh 2S LiPo battery (1 + 1 spare), 1x Landing gear, 1x Body shell set, 1x Wear and tear spares set, 1x USB 2S LiPo battery charger, 1x Crazyradio PA and 1x Flight case.

Specifications listed for the Flapper Nimble+:

  • Flight control:
    • Crazyflie Bolt
    • 2.4GHz transmitter
  • Storage:
    • 1x MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity:
    • nRF51 for Crazyradio PA (PC datalink)
    • BLE (Android & iOS App)
  • Expansion:
    • Interface for WS2812b RGB LEDs
    • Interface for external receiver (CPPM, 2S)
    • VCC (3.0V, max 100mA)
    • VCOM (5V, max 300mA)
  • I/O Interfaces:
    • 1x I2C (400kHz), 1x SPI, 2x UART 
    • 4x GPIOs
  • Actuators:
    • 2x Brushless DC motor
    • 2x Coreless rotary servo w/ precision metal gears
  • Power:
    • LiPo 2S 300 mAh
    • 5 min battery life w/ full payload
  • Mechanical:
    • 49 cm
    • 102 g (min. take-off weight)
    • 114 g (incl. body shells and landing gear)
    • 25 g max payload

Further information

The Flapper Nimble+ Starter Kit can be obtained from the Bitcraze online store for $2000.00. However, the product is at an early stage meaning “the hardware is working and test while the software is still a work in progress.”

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