A still from a computer animation illustrating Alexeev and Masoud's model (Image: Georgia Tech)
Alexander Alexeev and Hassan Masoud, with their computer model of flapping-wing flight (Photo: Gary Meek)
Imagine insect-like aircraft capable of military or civilian surveillance missions, impossible for current fixed-wing or rotary-wing vehicles – tiny flying machines able to access buildings reduced to rubble by earthquakes, or act as a fly-on-the-wall in the meeting rooms of enemy leaders. Such aircraft may be one step closer to realization, thanks to a breakthrough in our understanding of how flapping wings work.
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