Japanese aerobiomimetics boffins have developed a tiny ornithopter modelled on a swallowtail butterfly. Here's the obligatory Youtube Flash vid; apologies to those of you reading this on your iPads. According to Hiroto Tanaka and Isao Shimoyama, the team behind the diminutive flying flapper-bot, the fact that it flies is …
you cheeky scamp, you will be causing much pad rage out here in tardland :D
...for sneaky dig :)
Love the Reg
Frequently makes me laugh in unexpected ways. The video works fine on my iPad. So no rage here. Just an amused grin.
Is it me, or does that video just show falling with style in slo-mo?
Surely to be flying in the true sense it must be capable of sustained flight, where as that looks like its just descending. That's not flying, that's falling with style.
Looks in the video like it was losing height, and very much slow motion judging by the hand behind it. In which case at full speed it probably dropped like a stone.
I can flap my arms and fall like a brick, I'll be more impressed when I see a video showing several seconds of flight time.
Falling with style comes before flying
After all, people were using gliders before they used powered flight (with the exception of hot air balloons, natch).
So using mechanical actuation on something this small has caused it to drop slower. Next stop, make that work better so that it can sustain hieght/climb.
Interesting stuff - even twenty years ago this sort of stuff would have been the fevered dream of a madman, huzzah for progress, eh?
Even if this never has any practical application it is beautiful. Nanoaeroboffins I salute you.
Thumbs up for...
while I'm pleased to see the progression towards it, call me when they invent these:
If you've ever watched a butterfly fly, like me you would have been amazed at just how fast and seemingly uncontrolled their flight looks - but then they manage to alight on the flower they were after*.
I still can't figure out how they do it, but I'm sure there are deep philosophical implications to flapping about like a loony, being blown hither and thither, but still ending up where you wanted to be.
*Either that or they are good at looking very nonchalant about ending up on the wrong flower :)
This won't do
Mr. President, we can't afford a biomemitic butterfly gap!
No need to be so smug ...
...about iPads. Many of us can't see the video because Youtube and external Flash sites are blocked at work anyway. And my life isn't so sad that I read theRegister other than at work.
the title says it all.
"Here's the obligatory Youtube Flash vid; apologies to those of you reading this on your iPads."
At the risk of sounding like a slashdotter ...
Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these ... gently carrying you across the Atlantic!
(Hmm, is this tech good against volcanic dust?)
So now we can control the weather!
At last! The artificial butterfly effect!
Too busy reading The Sun no doubt ...
Ornithoptors today, Giant Sand Worms tomorrow!!
We're all doomed. Mini Ornithoptors today, Giant Sand Worms tomorrow!
Of course the elite will have the Spice and become prescient and will easily predict the winner of X Factor!
The whether will be sunny everyday, and in the end, you get to kill Sting.
Come on, what's not to like about that?
Re: Stephen R.
I'm thinking how similar this looks to a rubber-band powered flying toy my brother had when we were kids - and that's nearer forty years ago!
It was a mini flying bird / butterfly, with a mechanical linkage like this one and a thin polythene membrane for wings. Obviously it was impossibly delicate, especially in the hands of two under tens, and it lasted about three ten-second flights before a wing split in a nose over on landing.
I guess the cleverness here is to make it light enough to fly, but strong enough to withstand the attentions of a standard issue grunt. Or are they going to redeploy highly trained Top Gun pilots onto butterfly duty if they complain too much about the despised roboplane flying armchairs.
Working the problem backwards.
Instead of choosing some random flying insect, working out how it flies (which turns out to be *very* strangely by human standards) and then building a hardware mimic these guys found the simplest flying motion insect *first* then worked out how to model it.
Now that's engineering.
Any one else notice it is heading DOWNwards for a crash landing!