Monthly Archives: September 2011

A Robot that Flies like a Bird

For centuries, man has been possessed by the desire to fly. Naturally, nearly every inventor drew inspiration from the flight of birds. Nearly all of the earliest designs for flying machines attempt to replicate a bird’s flapping wings. Unfortunately, replicating a bird’s flight is exceedingly more difficult than one might anticipate. In fact, the motion […]

The Flying Mobula Ray

When it comes to sea dwelling animals, many people picture these creatures submerged in water all of the time.  However, could it be possible for them to fly? In the case of the Mobula Ray, the answer is yes.  This 17 foot long flat bodied ray, weighing over a ton, has the ability to launch […]

The Physics of Wingsuits

The amazing thing about the flight of animals is the seemingly simple nature yet unbelievable complexity of their evolved structures.  You would think that to mimic a flying squirrel would be easy, right? You know, just slap on a pair of wings and jump off of something. It couldn’t be that difficult. Wrong. It has […]

Gliding Vine Seeds

Alsomitra macrocarpa, known as the Alsomitra vine or the Javan cucumber is “a type of climbing gourd.” The vine is found mainly in the forests of Java, Indonesia.  Where it grows truly remarkable seeds by the hundreds in “football-sized pods.” What makes these seeds so remarkable is the fact that they are virtually aerodynamically perfect […]

Sharkskin Paint

The idea of shark attacks has terrorized humans for years, helped along by movies like Jaws. When we imagine them, we mostly think about the sharks’ vicious, powerful jaws, filled with hundreds of razor-sharp teeth that are so adept at killing. But what we don’t always think about is how they swim quickly, efficiently, and […]