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Robo-bats with metal muscles may be next generation of remote control flyers
Date:7/7/2009

ormed by many tiny bones, cartilage and tendons in real bats."

Seelecke explains that the research team is also using smart materials for the muscular system. "We're using an alloy that responds to the heat from an electric current. That heat actuates micro-scale wires the size of a human hair, making them contract like 'metal muscles.' During the contraction, the powerful muscle wires also change their electric resistance, which can be easily measured, thus providing simultaneous action and sensory input. This dual functionality will help cut down on the robo-bat's weight, and allow the robot to respond quickly to changing conditions such as a gust of wind as perfectly as a real bat."

In addition to creating a surveillance tool with very real practical applications, Seelecke says the robo-bat could also help expand our understanding of aerodynamics. "It will allow us to do tests where we can control all of the variables and finally give us the opportunity to fully understand the aerodynamics of flapping flight," Seelecke says.


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Contact: Matt Shipman
matt_shipman@ncsu.edu
919-515-6386
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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