Next gen air vehicles - inspired by birds, snakes and insects!

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Washington, Nov 24 (ANI): The ingenious natural design of falling geckoes, gliding snakes, cruising seagulls, flapping insects and floating maple seeds is now inspiration for many scientists to improve the design of air vehicles.

A special edition entitled Bioinspired Flight displays the wealth of knowledge being accrued by researchers in the field.

In one study, Dr. Evan Ulrich from the University of Maryland showed that micro helicopters could be much simplified by imitating the maple seed's wing pitch for controlled hovering and, surprisingly, forward flight.

A team led by graduate student Ardian Jusufi from UC Berkeley, shows how researchers have studied the gecko's trick of employing its tail to right and turn itself mid-air, helping it always fall on its feet, and have now made a robot model gecko which can employ the same grace on descent.

Another study from Professor Jake Socha and his team at Virginia Tech displays the mystifying skills of flying snakes, which direct their flight mid-air by slithering.

The edition also covers humming birds' perfect hover; birds' intuitive exploitation of thermal updrafts; the mechanical motion of insects' wings, and seagulls' magnificent sense of flight environment, which allows them incredible angles of attack and increased control in crosswinds.

The special edition's editor, Professor David Lentink from Wageningen University, wrote, "Because biologists and engineers are typically trained quite differently, there is a gap between the understanding of natural flight of biologists and the engineer's expertise in designing vehicles that function well. In the middle however is a few pioneering engineers who are able to bridge both fields."

The journals appear in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. (ANI)

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