Bird head stabilization during flapping flight

HFSP Program Grant awardee David Lentink and his colleagues have developed a novel suspension system for in-flight cameras using whooper swan flight as a cue for their latest tech tool. The development of this new tool is an essential element in an HFSP funded collaboration with colleagues in Australia and Canada to understand the exquisite flight control mechanisms of birds because they exhibit complex and diverse flight, and naturally fly over regions typically not easily accessible to controlled laboratory studies.

HFSP Program Grant holder David Lentink and colleagues
authored on Fri, 20 November 2015

Insight into avian flight control can be gained by examining how visual information guides different modes of flight in a virtual environment. In collaboration with aerospace engineers, the HFSP team wants to apply a virtual reality platform with instantaneous feedback to address questions about control during take-off and landing, and whether there are differences in the control algorithms between hummingbirds, which are hovering specialists, and budgerigars, which are adapted for cruising flight.

The full press release from Stanford University is available here

Figure: whiffling geese in flight

Reference

The role of passive avian head stabilization in flapping flight. Ashley E. Pete, Daniel Kress, Marina A. Dimitrov, David Lentink. Published 26 August 2015.DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2015.0508.

Pubmed link