Feeds

Bot imitates bat for better flight

Flying fox the model for ‘BaTboT’

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.