Michael Dickinson of the University of California at Berkeley's email address is revealing: FlymanD. Dickinson is a biologist specializing in the study of the aerodynamics of flapping flight. His studies of fruit fly flight are fascinating. In one small room sits a Plexiglas tank filled with two metric tons of mineral oil. Suspended in the oil are giant mechanical models of fruit fly wings: RoboFly. RoboFly enables Dickinson to study similar forces when the giant wings are flapping in oil. Thousands of tiny bubbles that act as visual tracers are forced into the oil from an air compressor making all the swirling turbulence visible. The device has been used to identify the unusual aerodynamic mechanisms that insects use to fly and maneuver. UC Berkeley, CA, USA.
- ©2000 Peter Menzel / www.menzelphoto.com / ROB SAPIENS
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