5 research outputs found

    Insect and insect-inspired aerodynamics: unsteadiness, structural mechanics and flight control

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    Flying insects impress by their versatility and have been a recurrent source of inspiration for engineering devices. A large body of literature has focused on various aspects of insect flight, with an essential part dedicated to the dynamics of flapping wings and their intrinsically unsteady aerodynamic mechanisms. Insect wings flex during flight and a better understanding of structural mechanics and aeroelasticity is emerging. Most recently, insights from solid and fluid mechanics have been integrated with physiological measurements from visual and mechanosensors in the context of flight control in steady airs and through turbulent conditions. We review the key recent advances concerning flight in unsteady environments and how the multi-body mechanics of the insect structure‚ÄČ‚ÄĒ‚ÄČwings and body‚ÄČ‚ÄĒ‚ÄČare at the core of the flight control question. The issues herein should be considered when applying bio-informed design principles to robotic flapping wings

    Aerodynamic imaging by mosquitoes inspires a surface detector for autonomous flying vehicles

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    Some flying animals use active sensing to perceive and avoid obstacles. Nocturnal mosquitoes exhibit a behavioral response to divert away from surfaces when vision is unavailable, indicating a short-range, mechanosensory collision-avoidance mechanism. We suggest that this behavior is mediated by perceiving modulations of their self-induced airflow patterns as they enter a ground or wall effect. We used computational fluid dynamics simulations of low-altitude and near-wall flights based on in vivo high-speed kinematic measurements to quantify changes in the self-generated pressure and velocity cues at the sensitive mechanosensory antennae. We validated the principle that encoding aerodynamic information can enable collision avoidance by developing a quadcopter with a sensory system inspired by the mosquito. Such low-power sensing systems have major potential for future use in safer rotorcraft control systems

    Classical Engineering Systems Provide Behavioral Analog for Ephemeral Insect and Plant Biomechanics

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    In this dissertation we consider ephemeral behaviors of two small-scale living systems, mosquitoes and citrus fruit reservoirs. While these two systems share few obvious commonalities, they both express life events that are complex and conclude within approximately 50 milliseconds. We utilize high-speed videography, between 1,000-16,000 fps, to detail how complex behavior can be modeled as classical engineering systems. Beginning with the larger organism we assessed the landing and takeoff behavior of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to ascertain the secrets of their covert interaction with humans. At takeoff, mosquitoes decrease pushing contact time with substrates of low friction through a modified takeoff behavior of striking the substrate with a hind-leg prior to a classic push phase. We propose a 2D analog where the striking leg acts as a rotating cantilever about a fixed end that generates upward momentum with a small penalty in body rotation. Landing mosquitoes are filmed in 2D and modeled as a mass-spring-damper system whose natural frequency, damping coefficient, ratio, and spring constant are determined experimentally and validated through a nonlinear least square solver fitting of the free vibration ODE\u27s general solution. Results indicate mosquitoes behave as an underdamped system to scrub their incoming momentum through extending impact duration, effectively reducing temporal impact force. Shrinking in scale we proceed to characterize citrus reservoir rupture as a passive system capable of microjetting oil through expanding orifices at accelerations greater than 5000 gravities. Citrus reservoirs are modeled as ellipsoidal pressure vessels capped by a thin membrane of contrasting stiffness to the surrounding ductile compressible albedo


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    In this thematic series, engineers and scientists come together to address two interesting interdisciplinary questions in functional morphology and biomechanics: How do the structure and material determine the function of insect body parts? How can insects inspire engineering innovations