Bats, the small inhabitants of caves, are also the only mammals in the world with the ability to fly and what I’m sure you didn’t know is that bats’ heavy wings give them superpowers. How? The key word is “inertia” as the lead researcher Sharon M. Swartz at Brown University reveals.
One of the most well known facts about bats is that they have the heaviest wings in relation to their body weight. Some might think that could be a predicament, but recent studies have showed that this might actually work to their advantage.
Bats usually roost in places that are very tight and don’t allow much large or complex movement. This is why they use inertia. This is a type of movement that includes propelling forces such as ground, hydrodynamic and aerodynamic forces for movement in all kinds of spaces. Therefore, we can say that inertia is a bat’s superpower.
For the study researchers used two species of bats: Sebea’s short-tailed bats and dog-faced fruit bats. The bats were to fly and land upside-down, as bats do, on a piece of mesh attached to the ceiling. They were monitored with three high-speed cameras and the footage showed that the tiny mammals pulled one of their wings closer to the body in order to shift their body weight while leaving the other one stretched out in order to land upside-down or flip back into flight.
Based on these findings, researchers are positive they will manage to revolutionize the flying technology by applying this natural movement of bats to the machines that will be developed, such as drones, which have lately become more and more popular.
Working with a team of technology researchers from the University of Illinois, they are adapting their findings in order to create a prototype for flying robo-bats that will have flappable wings. Scientists hope that these robo-bats will help people with disabilities to pick things up from the ground or otherwise ease their access to different objects that they cannot reach.
In conclusion, we can say that this is a breakthrough that will bring a massive improvement, given the fact that the simple movement of a bat wing can lead to the development of technologies that will ease the lives of many people.
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