UCI Graduate Wins Audience Award at International Symposium

Nov. 8, 2023 - Michelle Manku, a mechanical engineering student who recently graduated, won the Audience Award at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) undergraduate symposium this past summer. As the representative for the Samueli School’s Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle (FWMAV) research team, she presented the design project’s concept and latest advancements at the international design engineering technical conference.

FWMAV is a student team working on new propulsion methods for drones under the advisement of Haithem Taha, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. As Manku explained at the conference, their project takes inspiration from birds and insects that rely on flapping-wing-based flight. The team successfully created a drone propulsion system using four flappers that mimic the natural stabilization and passive thrust enhancement in hummingbird and hawk moth wings.

“We are excited to continue our research and improve our designs with one of the world’s greatest engineers: nature,” said Manku.

– Lilith Christopher