Feeds

Bot imitates bat for better flight

Flying fox the model for ‘BaTboT’

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9000 beer tokens - and counting
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
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?