By exploring how creatures in nature are able to fly by flapping their wings, Virginia Tech researchers hope to design "micro air vehicles.”

In Virginia Tech's study of fruit bat wings, the researchers used experimental measurements of the movements of the bats' wings in real flight, and then used analysis software to see the direct relationship between wing motion and airflow around the bat wing.

Among the biggest surprises in store for the researchers was how bat wings manipulated the wing motion with correct timing to maximize the forces generated by the wing.

The team wants to keep the wing motion as simple as possible, but with the same force production as that of a real bat.


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