Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Meganeura Flies Again

Or at least, a remotely-controlled robot version.

As I'm sure all my readers are aware, Meganeura (pdf file) was of the largest insects ever to fly; it had a wingspan of over 50cms!
Its wings were heavily veined with many cross braces to strengthen them – not at all like the delicate wings of dragonflies today.

A Fossil (courtesy Kendall Bioresearch of a specimen with a wingspan of 70cm.

Now go over to the Popular Mechanics site to see a Video of the modern equivalent - the world's first remote-control ornithopter.

The Dragonfly, winner of a Popular Mechanics Editor's Choice Award here at CES — though it's on display at the smaller, more innovative Sands expo — features four wings and a tail rudder, which help it fly at up to 18 mph just by flapping. The big thing here, though, is how easy and intuitive it is to control. A beginner mode helps you take flight and move on to expert mode for sharper turns and faster speed. And no need to re-power during your learning curve; the remote control doubles as a charger.

1 comment:

Mardie said...

Very cool. I want one.