Obi the parrotlet wearing protective goggles.
Credit: Eric Gutierrez
A barely visible fog hangs in the air in a California laboratory, illuminated by a laser. And through it flies a parrot, outfitted with a pair of tiny, red-tinted goggles to protect its eyes.
As the bird flaps its way through the water particles, its wings generate disruptive waves, tracing patterns that help scientists understand how animals fly.
In a new study, a team of scientists measured and analyzed the particle trails that were produced by the goggle-wearing parrot’s test flights, and showed that previous computer models of wing movement aren’t as accurate as they once thought. This new perspective on flight dynamics could inform future wing designs in autonomous flying…