TED-Ed lessons

Professor Barba is using TED-Ed with videos already on You Tube or screencasts she has recorded to support some concepts we learn in this class. Here is the (growing) index of TED-Ed lessons:

A Second In The Life Of A Parasitic Wasp

The world’s smallest insect is a “parasitic wasp”. They are so tiny, they can weigh as little as 0.000025 grams — that’s about half as much as a grain of salt. To fly, they jump in the air and start beating their wings at a furiously fast rate!

SmartBird—A Robot That Flies Like A Bird

SmartBird is a mechanical model that is able to fly by flapping its wings like a bird. It is very light but very powerful and aerodynamically efficient, so that it can take off, fly and land on its own. It was built in 2011 by Festo, a German company specializing in automation. SmartBird’s movements are graceful and awe-inspiring!

How Does A Wing Generate Lift?

This is the most fundamental question we ask when learning about the science of flight, and yet there is much confusion around it. Many books and many teachers give a popular explanation of lift that is unfortunately wrong. Let’s clear this up …

Airfoil Nomenclature

We have to agree on some basic terminology, before we move on.

Human-Powered Flight

The ancient desire of humans to fly was to use our own power, but this dream “was almost forgotten after engine flight began” (as narrated in this documentary clip). What did it take to revive it? What did it take to achieve it? What did we learn?

Zombie Nouns

Before you start posting to the course blog, we’ll make sure that the zombie apocalypse does not ruin our noble efforts!

Bio-Aerial Locomotion: Flapping Flight, Part 1

To understand flapping flight, we first look at an airplane propeller and work out how thrust is generated on the blades. In part 2, we will use this knowledge to explain thrust produced by a bird’s wing during the flap cycle.

Bio-Aerial Locomotion: Flapping Flight, Part 2

In a previous lesson, we looked at a propeller blade to learn how thrust is produced. From this knowledge, we can move on to explain how a flapping wing generates both thrust and lift, as used by birds in flight.

Staying In The Air – Bird Flight

Understanding how a wing produces lift and how flapping generates thrust is only the first step in learning about bird flight. Birds have different kinds of wings, adapted to their different habitats and behavior, and use various techniques to improve their performance. Let’s look into that …