Secrets of Bat Wings
Bats are amazing flyers and their flexible wings are a source of endless fascination to scientists who study flight.
For instance, what about those long, thin muscles in bat wings that aren’t attached to any bones?
It seemed that those muscles might help shape the wings in flight and now researchers have evidence that that’s true, but it wasn’t easy to get.
Brown University scientists used ultra-thin electrodes to record muscle activity while the bats were flying in a wind tunnel.
They also shot high-speed video at the same time.
Sure enough, the muscles contract on the down stroke and that could make the wing stretch less, which would help the bat fly.
That could be good to know if you’re making soft winged flying robots.
But really, the reason to study bats is that nothing else on earth flies the way they do and they fly very, very well.