Feeds

Bot imitates bat for better flight

Flying fox the model for ‘BaTboT’

Intelligent flash storage arrays

It may be despised as the vector of a really nasty virus*, but like all bats, Australia’s Grey-headed Flying Fox is an aerobatic (sorry) marvel – and it’s provided part of the model for researchers trying to mimic bat flight using a combination of articulated wings and smart materials.

The Madrid Polytechnic researchers, working with America’s Brown University, say they want to create a flyer that borrows one of the tricks that makes bats so agile: the ability to change the shape of their wing during flapping.

That’s not easy to achieve. As the researchers describe in this paper, the bat’s wing has flexible bones, independently controllable joints, and the wing membrane’s tension surface is controlled by its own tiny muscles.

How to build a bat: Madrid Poly's BaTboT

To mimic this, the artificial bat wing needs a skeleton that can be actuated without getting too heavy, and a similarly-lightweight wing. BaTboT’s wing is a membrane of silicon 0.1 mm thick, with shape-memory alloys (SMAs) providing muscle action to both the wings and the steel tendons in the wing.

The current iteration of BaTboT has two aims: creating an architecture for SMA-driven flight, and “validating through aerodynamics experiments that our morphing-wings approach contributes in increasing lift force during the wing’s downstroke and reducing drag during upstroke”.

The onboard electronics includes an RF receiver, an Arduino-based controller, and MOSFETs to drive the SMA actuators. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.