December 1, 2009 Issue

Physics To Go 86 - Cyber/robot insects

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Physics in Your World

Maple Seeds and Animals Exploit the Same Trick to Fly image
image credit: D. Lentink, Wageningen University; image source; larger image

Maple Seeds and Animals Exploit the Same Trick to Fly

How do maple seeds spiral downward so gracefully? The spinning seed creates a vortex above the leading edge that provides lift. Read a detailed explanation in this Caltech press release, where you can also listen to a podcast from Caltech researcher Michael Dickinson.

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Physics at Home

Hoverflies: Nature's Shape Shifters

Watch a video of a hoverfly twist its wings hundreds of times per second.


From Physics Research

Robotic Fly image
image credit: Robert Wood, Harvard University; image source; larger image

Robotic Fly

Think before swatting the next fly you see, because it might be a robot. Researchers from the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory have developed a robotic fly that can actually take flight. Read about the journey to develop the fly at Robotic Fly, and be sure to see the video of the fly in flight.

Worth a Look

The Army's Remote-Controlled Beetle

Instead of building artificial insects, some researchers are trying to control living insects using cybernetic implants. Read The Army's Remote-Controlled Beetle and Cyborg Moth Gets a New Radio to learn about the research and possible applications.

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