Feeds

Bot imitates bat for better flight

Flying fox the model for ‘BaTboT’

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.