Category: Student post

Swarming: A Team Sport for UAVs

UAVs have revolutionized the way countries and governments gather information and conduct reconnaissance, among many other things.  No longer are we required to put boots on the ground in dangerous countries or have the Coast Guard venture into dangerous disaster areas to enact rescue missions.  With the development of UAVs, controllable from vast distances, the […]

The Fly Flies

One of the basic concepts of flight is that lift must be generated to get into the air and maintain flight. Many animals and even flying vehicles have specific processes to generate their lift and take flight, processes that are very planned out and must be done properly. One such example being a hang glider […]

The Incredible Eye of the Fly

Undoubtedly you’ve had a fly buzzing around your room pestering you. At least once in your life you’ve picked up a newspaper or fly swatter and tried to get rid of it. But it seems like every time you swing the little fly avoids your attempts. Flies aren’t as dumb as they seem. Evolution has taught […]

Nano Hummingbird

A team of engineers led by Matt Keennon at California-based aerovironment developed the Nano hummingbird for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The Nano hummingbird is composed of four components; low-res camera, 6.5 inch wings, transmission and plastic shell. It is designed to mimic the flight of a hummingbird. It can fly up to 17.7 […]

Winged Robotic Cockroach Informs Debate on Evolution of Flight

Professor Ronald Fearing and his research team at the University of California, Berkeley, originally intended to create a robot that could navigate all types of terrain. When their first robot DASH, short for Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod, fell slightly short of their objective, they decided to attach wings to the robotic cockroach. Only later did […]

Indirect flight muscles in insects

Of all the things that fly, Insects are possibly the least understood. Their small size and quick movements have made them much more difficult to study, and much of the research about insects has not yet become widely known. One such piece of knowledge that has not yet become common knowledge is the phenomenon of indirect flight.

The Next Generation of UAV

A group of researchers from several American universities have begun a projet to develop a small unmanned aerial vehicle capable of flying like a bird. Lead by Professor Russ Tedrake of MIT they will attempt to build a UAV capable of navigating natural and urban environments at high speeds, much like small birds do. In their initial […]

An Unconventional Lift-Enhancing Mechanism: Clap and Fling

Animal and insect wings are considerably different from those of an airplane. As a result, it isn’t much of a surprise that they use different mechanisms to generate lift. One of these peculiar mechanisms is the “clap and fling.” Torkel Weis-Fogh introduced this mechanism in order to explain the aerodynamic forces that some insects are […]

Kestrels and Windhovering

Hummingbirds are well known for their ability to hover, as are insects. However, hovering is a much more rare concept in larger animals, such as birds of prey. Birds of prey typically maintain their altitude while hunting by gliding around in circles, in order to generate lift. Kestrels, however, are the only bird of prey […]

Ducks: The Familiar Swimmer

Ducks are one of society’s everyday creatures. They are in parks, on lakes, and even all over small, suburban towns waiting for passerby’s to drop break crumbs for them to eat. Ducks, to us, are something simple with little interest revolving around them. But are they that simple?