The latest news reported that scientists designed new bat-like wings. Researchers from the University of Southampton and Imperial College London created a new type of micro air vehicle (MAV). It is said the new prototype will fly longer distances and will be more economical than other MAVs.
What’s more, the new air vehicle will have bat-like wings, which function similar to a bat’s. Experts said they used the bat as a model because it is the only mammal naturally capable of genuine flight. In order to design the wings, experts used both high-speed cameras and computer models.
This way, they could study and mimic bats’ air movements. This is the first time scientists observed bats’ flight so as to use its pattern in drone technology. Experts claimed the new MAV wings don’t have mechanical components. This makes them lighter and more flexible than classic wings. Such feature allows the new micro air vehicles to be easily maintained. Moreover, the voltage input enables wings to operate like artificial muscles.
Researchers explained bat-like wings can change their shape according to air shifts, like real wings do. Rafael Palacios of Imperial’s Department of Aeronautics said:
“We had to make sure it could model not only the wings themselves but also the aerodynamic flows around them and the effect of the electric field generated across them.”
It is estimated that the new wings will eventually fly over much larger distances than currently possible. Generally, MAVs are used in a large variety of civil and military missions like surveying remote and dangerous regions. Developers mentioned they inspired from the natural world for the vehicle’s design so as to make them fly better and be easily controlled.
Project leader, Bharath Ganapathisubramani from the University of Southampton, said he and his team conducted laboratory tests to show how active wings may alter the performance of an air vehicle. The fact that scientists designed new bat-like wings is an unique achievement in the field of bio-inspired MAV design.
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