Bat Inspired Micro Air Vehicles to Soon be a Reality
A team of scientists from the University of Southampton and Imperial College London have designed innovative membrane wings which were inspired by bats to create a new generation of unmanned Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). The MAVs are a step ahead from the unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and can fly over long distances economically.
The wings work like artificial muscles and can change shape in response to the forces they experience during the flight. Moreover, they come without mechanical parts and is hence, easy to maintain. The wing comprises of electro–active polymers to help it stiffen and relax in response to an applied voltage. The shape of the electro–active membrane can be altered by changing the voltage input, which would further alter the aerodynamic characteristics during the flight.
These wings will faciliatate flight over much longer distances because the MAV developers have replicated the natural world to design vehicles for a better flight performance.