Profile image
By Crunch Gear (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

High-Speed Camera Rig Captures 3D Images of Birds’ Wings in Flight

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 13:25
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)


You don’t have to be an ornithologist to know that birds are pretty good at flying. But while we know how they do it in general, the millimeter- and microsecond-level details are difficult to pin down. Researchers at Stanford are demystifying bird flight with a custom camera/projector setup, and hoping to eventually replicate its adaptability in unpredictable air currents.

“We really want to understand how birds are able to do the things that drones can’t,” explained graduate student Marc Deetjen, who designed the system, in a video from Stanford. “Specifically we want to know the exact shape of the wings as they fly.”

Deetjen and mechanical engineering professor David Lentink opted for a “patterned light” technique. A projector sprays out a grid of light with carefully engineered angles and spacing, and a high speed camera picks up whatever that grid lands on. Depending on how those lines distort and move over time, the system can infer the exact shape of the object the pattern falls on.

In this case, of course, it’s a bird, specifically Gary, a 4-year-old “parrotlet.”

“To make this work really well, we need to be able to see the light that’s projected on the wing,” said Deetjen. “That’s why we actually studied this with white birds — because they form a perfect flying projection screen.”

It works at short range and high speed, which isn’t always the case with other mapping tech like lidar and time-of-flight systems.

The results are not only useful but also eerily beautiful:

The very first tests of the system yielded interesting information: the bird’s angle of attack, an aerodynamic term for the angle at which air strikes the wing (or vice versa, depending on your frame of reference), was absurdly high. In an aircraft it would create so much drag that it would stall immediately and drop like a rock, or perhaps snap the wings off.

But Gary apparently was able not just to take off, but to convert this ridiculous angle into improved lift by redirecting the drag in an upwards direction. (I think.)

Read More

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.