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By folding their wings in toward their bodies on the upstroke, bats use 35 percent less energy and reduce aerodynamic drag,A  compensating for heavier, more muscular wings. Whether people are building a flying machine or nature is evolving one, there is pressure to optimize efficiency. The team's observations and calculations show that by flexing their wings inward to their bodies on the upstroke, bats use only 65 percent of the inertial energy they would expend if they kept their wings fully outstretched. The findings not only help explain why bats and some birds tuck in their wings on the upstroke, but could also help inform human designers of small flapping vehicles. The team originally set out to study something different: how wing motions vary among bats along a wide continuum of sizes. That curiosity gave them a new perspective on their 1,000 frames-per-second videos of 27 bats performing five trials each aloft in a flight corridor or wind tunnel. The team fed the data in to a calculus-rich model that allowed them to determine what the inertial energy costs of flapping were and what they would have been if the wings were kept outstretched. The conventional wisdom has always been that bats drew their wings in on the upstroke to reduce drag in the air, and although the team did not measure that, they acknowledge that aerodynamics plays the bigger role in the overall energy budget of flying. Bats have an a€?eara€? for flying in the dark because of a remarkable auditory talent that allows them to determine their physical environment by listening to echoes.


Natural flyers like birds, bats and insects outperform man-made aircraft in aerobatics and efficiency. Hummingbirds rank among the world's largest and most accomplished hovering animals, but how do they manage it in gusty winds?
At busy intersections, traffic signals generally favor the road with the greatest volume to keep traffic moving. Researchers at UC San Francisco and Stanford University have performed the first comprehensive survey of the central genes and proteins essential to bacterial life.
The simple act of water droplets landing on a leaf causes an elaborate response inside of plants, scientists at The University of Western Australia have found. I've often wondered what happens between the time an egg is fertilized and the time the ball of cells that it becomes nestles into the uterine lining. A new Brown University study finds that bats take advantage of their flexibility by folding in their wings on the upstroke to save inertial energy. A new analysis by biologists, physicists, and engineers at Brown University reveals the subtle but important degree to which that pressure has literally shaped the flapping wings of bats.
They published those results in 2010 in the Journal of Experimental Biology, but as they analyzed the data further, they started to consider the intriguing pattern of the inward flex on the upstroke.


They tracked markers on the bats, who hailed from six species, and measured how frequently the wings flapped, how far up and down they flapped, and the distribution of mass within them as they moved. But the newly measured inertial savings of drawing in the wings on the upstroke seems too significant to be an accident. With reference to plant isoquinoline alkaloids, these substances have been named fumisoquins.
The research suggests that engineers looking at flapping flight should account for wing mass and consider a folding design. They measured the mass by cutting the wing of a bat that had died into 32 pieces and weighing them.



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