Migratory birds can glide over very long distances with minimal wing-flapping, thanks to their strategic use of rising warm air currents. A new study has found that the birds use two basic sensory cues, combined with reinforcement learning algorithms (RLA), to navigate this turbulent environment.
Spider crickets are masters of aerodynamics. They don’t have wings, but they can jump up to 60 times their body length — equivalent to a human track star jumping the length of a football field. Now a team of engineering students at Johns Hopkins University has videotaped the critters in slow motion and discovered some…
Slapping a giant fin on the back of your hand-me-down Corolla isn’t going to make it go any faster. But researchers at Yokohama have found that adding a series of angled fins to a tire can actually help improve a vehicle’s aerodynamics, which in turn means better fuel efficiency and fewer stops at the pumps.
Owls are often considered nature’s stealth fighters, and it turns out their ability to silently is a result of a unique wing structure not found in any other bird. Now that researchers know the owl’s secret, they can make lots of stuff silent—everything from bedroom ceiling fans to massive wind turbines.
Flying’s great—you can be whisked across time zones in a matter of hours—but it’s not so great for your wallet, or the atmosphere. But NASA’s new wing design that adjusts its flaps mid-flight could be the fix.
This strangely alive-looking blob isn't a prop from a sci-fi movie. It's a smorph, a morphing material that could make the cars, trains and airplanes of tomorrow extremely aerodynamic, using the same trick that helps golf balls fly faster and straighter.
When the 2014 FIFA World Cup gets started on June 12 in Brazil, the world's greatest soccer players will be booting around one of the most advanced balls ever created for the sport — and the science proves it.
You don't need to be a beach bum to understand waves: they move objects along with them, pushing boats and swimmers to the shore. There's even a name for it, the Stokes drift model. But for the first time, physicists have figured out how to do the opposite, using waves to bring a floating object backward to the source…
On Earth, a properly thrown boomerang will return to the person who threw it. Is the same true aboard the International Space Station?
MLB pitcher R.A. Dickey* slings an erratic knuckleball pitch, posing a challenge for batter and catcher alike. The ball has been colorized to highlight its almost total lack of spin, which usually serves to stabilize the ball's trajectory.
When your plane feels like it's being thrown around the sky by an angry thunder god, should you be nervous? Actually, yes. But not for the reasons you might think. Let's take a look at what turbulence is, and the real reasons why it can be dangerous.
The next time you're bored in a coffee shop, here's a little something to do. All you need is a coin, a straw, a cup, and a willingness to be made the object of many admiring looks — for you are the pennymaster.
When we think of experiments that test bodily reactions to high altitudes, we think of the space program, or at least the airplane industry. In fact, the first careful experiment took place hundreds of years ago, in the gardens of Versailles.
We've heard blasé dialog about Mach numbers from fighter pilots in movies, but do you know what Mach numbers actually mean? Among other things, it means that two planes going at Mach 1 can actually be going at very different speeds.
You're looking at the future of space exploration: a robot who can move fast though slippery, sandy terrain. With the help of new experimental techniques, robots inspired by the one above could one day be used for search-and-rescue missions, or exploring the surface of Mars, with unprecedented speed and mobility.
So this is what the red death looks like when the mask comes off. Or maybe what the fog monster from Lost looks like when it gets some pizzazz. Actually, this swirling vortex of crimson death is a NASA test that lets technicians observe the air disturbance behind a plane.
This is impressive. Watch what happens when a very flustered squirrel makes a daring leap for freedom through the kitchen window of what looks to be a fourth-story apartment. The brief clip, captured on video by Finn83, raises an interesting question: how does a squirrel survive such a fall?
Often in athletic competitions an athlete's biggest advantage comes from their gear. So if you're a cyclist after a first place finish, Cervélo's P5 triathlon/time trial bike has been designed and engineered to be the most aerodynamic ride on two wheels.
When a team of biologists, physicists, and engineers at Brown University put their heads together to look at batwings, they discovered how wings on everything from military vehicles to batman could become 35 percent more efficient.