Birds Wearing Laser Goggles Reveal Faults In Flight

Posted: Dec 6 2016, 4:00am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Birds Wearing Laser Goggles Reveal Faults in Flight
  • Birds Wearing Goggles Fly Through Laser Light to Reveal Faults in Flight

A couple of birds donned small goggles and flew through a laser light for an experiment that showed the flaws in flight research.

The goggles worn by the birds were tightly in place. Their chin straps were safe and secure too. As the experiment proceeded, the lasers were prepared to do their job of sending out concentrated light rays. The air was suffused with tiny aerosol particles all the better to track the flight paths these birds would take through the obstacle course of sorts. As the signal was given, the birds just went for it.

One of the parrotlets was named Obi and he made a dash for it. The researchers has trained Obi and several other small bird species like him to fly through this experimental setup so as to gauge the vortices that got generated by their flight path.

The results were published in the December 6 issue of the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.

This scheme showed how most birds manage to achieve lift-off. It may have applications in fields a diverse as flying robotics and drone technology. To the surprise of the scientists, the three tried-and-tested models they used were all full of faults and flaws.

The whole thing was meant to test the air flow generated by flying animals. How they manage to support their weight during flight is what the procedure was all about.

Flying robots that have wings and swoop and dive are where this experiment is supposed to be applicable. The parrotlets had safety goggles specifically made for their eyes.

As they flew through the particulate medium, the motion of their wings disturbed the medium and the patterns were recorded by machines in the background. These patterns showed differences from past models. The question now is whether the models were accurate to begin with.

To one degree or another, all the past models seemed to have failed. New models will take time to generate. Earlier experiments included birds, bats and insects.

Everything may have to be radically changed thanks to the new information that has been forthcoming due to the flight of birds such as Obi.

Robotic wings will be molded closer to the natural design you see in the actual world. This will usher in a more realistic and efficient style of robotics for the future times.

To test three popular models that predict the lift generated by flying animals, Stanford researchers trained a parrotlet to wear safety goggles and fly through a laser sheet.

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