Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Scientist TV - Somersaulting fly captured in slow-mo wins award

Think flies aren't acrobatic? In this video, watch a fly perform an aerial somersault in slow motion, a move seldom observed in real time due to its speed. Captured by biologists Michael Dickinson from the University of Washington and Gwyneth Card from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, it's an escape manoeuvre performed when a fly is taken by surprise, allowing it to regain control during the tumble.
The short film is one of the winners in a competition organised by the Flight Artists group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The team taught amateur filmmakers how to use high-speed cameras to capture flying animals, or plant seeds, and selected the best results.
Dickinson and Card typically study fruit flies in flight, for example to find out more about wing dynamics and how the brain translates decisions into motion.
If you enjoyed this video, check out a bald eagle in flight and a swallow feeding its young, videos captured by the Flight Artists team last year.

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