Create a free Industrial Equipment News account to continue

Researchers Inch Toward ā€˜Automated Batsā€™

Mimicking batsā€™ efficient, agile flying motion could lead to more capable drones.

Bats are important: they pollinate plants, control insect populations and have even inspired vital medical breakthroughs. And soon, thanks to researchers at the University of British Columbia, you could add another, more high-tech reason to the list.

Because bats are among natureā€™s most skilled and efficient flyers, UBC engineers believe mapping out their movements could hold the key to better drones and other aircraft. Unlike birds, batsā€™ wings can dramatically change shape during flight thanks to their multiple joints and stretchy membranes.

Researchers at UBC built a primitive aluminum wing and used a wind tunnel to generate movements approximating a bat in flight. They then created a computer model that showed how bats move their wings with an unprecedented level of sophistication.

The team next hopes to develop a physical bat model to optimize the flapping motion, which UBC engineers said could serve as a foundation for making ā€œautomated batsā€ ā€” highly efficient drones that could be deployed in commercial or public safety contexts.            

More in Product Development