Tag: flying animals

Air or water? A glance at the conflicts between flight and dive in seabirds

If you were to ask yourself the best way to reach the bottom of an Olympic-sized pool, what would first come to your mind? Most of us would probably say swimming upside down or diving on expiration, i.e. exhaling air from our lungs to sink to the bottom.

In this article, we explore the intriguing nature’s response to this question in the specific case of seabirds, capable of diving as well as flying, which inevitably gives rise to biomechanical conflicts between these two types of locomotion. Understanding energy costs in seabird displacement functions is crucial for a deeper grasp of their natural evolution and behavioral habits.

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Nature vs. Nurture: who is responsible for bone shape?

A figure showing muscles acting on a skeleton during a tennis serve
Figure adapted from Taylor et. al

Bones are more than just spooky installments – they are the structural elements of the human body, like the steel girders of a skyscraper. They contain calcium-rich minerals and collagen fibers which are usually aligned along the long axis of the bone, known as the major axis. As a result, bones typically have material properties that are stronger in the axial direction. Nowadays, human bones can regularly experience forces much larger than loads that were experienced thousands of years ago. Especially in sports like powerlifting, these loads may be applied to bones in directions different than normally experienced during development. How does this affect bone structure in athletes today?

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Pacific Rim In Real Life?

How Close are we to a Pacific Rim Reality?

A picture of a kaiju infected robot
A photo from the movie Pacific Rim 2

Remember those giant hybrid kaiju-fighting robots from Pacific Rim where the brain of a kaiju (strange beast in Japanese) has successfully infected the mechanical brain of the robots and turned human’s greatest defense against them ? Well, it turns out, the boundary between science fiction and reality isn’t as far as we thought. A researched field “Necrobotics” has taken the world by storm and it is so new that Google is still highlighting “Necrobotics” as red. Imagine a world where nature’s most complex design is integrated into human’s innovation, leading to the most incredible biohybrid systems. If you are drawn the future application of this field or the potential harmony between biology and robotics, you’re in for a treat. In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the existing researches within Necrobotics and the future outlook on this unique field.

Necrobotics, a term derived from “Latinized form of Greek nekros” (relating to death ) and “robotics,” may sound a tad bit eerie, but it’s far from sinister. In fact, it’s all about bringing life to machines. The heart of the research is focused on producing biohybrid system that utilizes the intricate abilities of a living organism while combining with the precision and flawless decision making skills of a robot. Similar to our natural world, it draws inspiration from our environment such as the symbiotic relationship of Bees feeding on a flower’s nectar while carrying its pollen from plant to plant.

So, why should you be interested in this intersection of biology and technology? The applications are nothing short of astounding. One day, we will have biohybrid robots aiding in disaster relief events, enhancing our healthcare capabilities and assisting us in answering humankind most complex questions. These robots are able to mimic natural organism abilities, making them more adaptable, versatile, and resilient than conventional robots. From robotic limbs that respond to neural signals in the body to machines that slither like snakes, Necrobotics are in prime position to push humankind to the next level.

Gecko skin adhering to smooth surfaces
Photos from the article “Evidence for van der Waals adhesion in gecko setae”

Scientists and engineers have developed a variety of technology by studying organisms that have evolved over millennia of evolution. These technology include surface wettability modification based on lotus leaves and Namib beetles, adhesion mechanisms that mimic gecko toes, and even sensing for smart materials by imitating the color-changing chameleon and the humidity-sensitive pine cone. In order to inform the design of robots and actuators, researchers have also taken inspiration from the locomotion of aquatic and terrestrial animals, such as starfish, jellyfish, and cephalopod. Here is a famous example of dead spider corpse used as a mechanical claw.

In conclusion, these scientific topics may have been initially perceived as science fiction but it has quickly garnered attention and are becoming a crucial step for mankind to take. Future discoveries in this field will have the potential to redefine countless industries while acknowledge nature’s design. So if you’ve ever imagined a time where science and nature coexist, now is the perfect time to get excited about necroboticsá…³the future is here, and it’s amazing.

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Staying airborne: How bird wings are built for aerodynamic and efficient flight

Flight is a concept that has, until relatively recently in history, eluded humanity. However, birds have been successfully flying for approximately 130 million years, proving themselves to be a physical marvel of the natural world. And while our means of flight have historically been crude in design and performance, nature provides an elegant, efficient solution to get creatures off of the ground. Rüppell’s griffon vultures have been recorded flying as high as 37,000 ft, while some species of shorebirds have been recorded flying as far as from Alaska to New Zealand over eight days without stopping. But how exactly do birds seem to effortlessly overcome gravity so effectively? And perhaps more importantly, how might we apply these answers to improve manmade aircraft?

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Which is more stable, washing machines or birds? The answer might surprise you

What do birds and washing machines have in common? Shockingly, it’s not the ability to wash clothes. Rather, most birds and washing machines are great examples of vibration isolation systems.

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How much wood can a woodpecker peck? The Science Behind a Woodpecker’s Anatomy

Have you ever wondered how a woodpecker is capable of banging its head against a tree so furiously without seriously injuring itself? The impact of a woodpecker’s beak with a tree can exceed speeds of up to 6 meters per second and occur over 12,000 times a day.These kinds of numbers are what allow woodpeckers to smash through trees to get to those tasty bugs that live inside.

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