Category: Student post

Robobees: The Future of Micro Air Vehicles

At Harvard’s SEAS laboratory, Professor Robert Wood and his colleagues are making vast advances in the field of micro air vehicles. Their latest project, the Robobee, seeks to incorporate bio-inspired design with a state-of-the-art navigation system that allows for autonomous flight and coordinated work with other Robobees. Their team, which includes evolutionary biologists, engineers and […]

Hummingbird Hovering and the Aerodynamics of Wing Vortices

Of all the known species of birds, the hummingbird is perhaps one of the most iconic because of its unique ability to hover. The hummingbird has a number of adaptions that allow it to fly with breathtaking agility and precision. A new technique using stroboscopic laser sheets allowed scientists to see how air flows over […]

How Hummingbirds Hover

Mastering the art of flying was a huge feat for the human race, and an amazing accomplishment. It took intuition and engineering to interpret the methods by which flying animals engage in flight and put them together into mechanisms that allow humans to travel through the air for extended periods of time. After the first […]

Clap-flinging to a faster lift-off

There are many different special tricks used to aid animals in flight. From dynamic soaring to gliding, animals have found numerous ways to get airborne. One trick in particular is whats called “clap-flinging.” It is a trick primarily used by insects, especially small ones, to increase lift during take-off. Without it they could not gain […]

Hoverflies: No, They’re Not Bees

There are many species of the hoverfly, about 6,000 in fact. The hoverfly is also referred to as the flower fly, or the syrphid fly, but also has many other common names, which are derived from their behavior of hovering around flowers. Hoverflies typically have black and yellow stripes, much like bees, and wasps as […]

Insects- How Their Wings Work

There are over a million different species of insects living on earth today. They are some of the oldest and most widespread animals on the planet. For hundreds of years, insects have been notorious for eating our food and carrying deadly diseases. What some people do not know is that they also help keep our […]

This Fisherman Doesn’t Need a Pole

Beware all fish, the mighty Kingfisher has set its sights onto you!  There are over 90 species in the kingfisher family and in general they all have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, stubby tails, and short legs.  All kingfishers have binocular-like vision with restricted eye movement, which allows for tracking fish underwater.  Kingfishers are able […]

Bio-Inspired is the Future

When was the last time you thanked your inner ear? Probably not after riding a roller coaster or getting carsick, but what we sometimes curse and so often take for granted is nonexistent in insects such as flies. Flies lack the fluid in their head that helps us determine up from down, and yet, they still manage to […]

Ladybugs, a Soft Spot under that Hard Shell

I think it is fair to make the assumption that almost everyone has seen, and perhaps even picked up a lady bug. When not flying, this beetle looks completely harmless, cute even, but when they lift their shell and show off their large, veiny wings, this creature takes on a completely different form. The Ladybug, […]

The Desert Locust Shows the Importance of Wing Deformation in Insect Flight

A fun part of my childhood was catching grasshoppers and dragonflies in a field near my house. I always had to find creative and stealthy methods to catch these creatures, and now I can learn how they are able to transport themselves. Grasshoppers not only have strong legs for jumping, but they also can fly! […]