we just think about ‘explosives detection’ and what do we find?
Engineers have long been stymied in their attempts to fabricate micro aerial robots that can match the amazing flight capabilities of nature’s most advanced flying insects ¾flies. Such robot flies — if they could be made efficient enough for long missions — could be used for a variety of tasks, from spying, to mine detection to search and rescue missions in collapsed buildings.
The new work shows which wing motion generates high lift most effectively — the insect wing that spins around similar to a helicopter blade. Nevertheless, we still have much to learn from flies, says Dickinson. These tiny animals have evolved into some of nature’s best fliers and whereas the micro batteries of humans can keep their fly-sized robots aloft for mere seconds or minutes, flies can fly effortlessly for hours. ‘With such an effective form of energy storage and motors, flies are much less dependent on energy efficiency than our best robot flies,” says Dickinson> “We can still learn from nature how to improve our flying robot designs, but not without a better understanding of why flies fly so well.”