13 September 2010

Melissa is back in the US

As the remaining AFL crue has noticed Melissa Bowlin has left Lund after 2 years here as Marie Curie postdoc fellow. It has been two years of intense work, including wind tunnel experiments, writing of book chapters, conferences and symposia. Melissa left with lots of data still to be analyzed and published, perhaps most notably about the effect of moult gaps on flight performance in passerine birds. Melissa has now taken up a new position as assistant professor at Dearborn, Detroit, where she is teaching animal physiology alongside her own research. We wish her all the success in her new position in the US, but also that we will remain in close contact in the future.

03 September 2010

MAVs navigating without GPS

Engineers at MIT has built a MAV that is able to navigate inside a complicated environment, where GPS navigation is denied. The vehicle is perhaps mainly interesting for its navigations skills rather than it's flight performance. The MAV has a laser scanning the environment to build up an image about the surrounding topology. At the recent International Bat Research Conference in Prague, there were talks about using sonar systems similar to those of bats to navigate the environment. The real challenge will be to combine any of these navigation based systems with a MAV that uses flapping flight, and flies like a bat or an insect. A film showing the MAV flying indoors can be seen by clicking here. The accompanying paper is not very new, published in Science in late 2009.