16:16 09 May 2017
Scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory has developed artificial hair sensors designed to change the course of agile flight.
Explaining what inspired the team to develop such sensors, Dr. Jeff Baur, the principal engineer in the Structural Materials Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, said: “Ever notice how a cricket might stop chirping when you walk into a room? It’s because it detects a big air disturbance and does not know if you are a friend or a foe. Nature has given bats and crickets these fine hairs that they use to sense changes in their environment. We hypothesized that if we could engineer similar hairs at the surface of an aircraft, we could enable an agile flight system that can detect air changes and ‘fly by feel’.”
The artificial hair sensors have already gained international interest with many aerospace companies looking forward to using them in their flying systems and wind-tunnel models.
“We’re providing new insights and non-traditional outlets for long-term (AFRL) research. The project has moved to the point where we are making these sensors, evaluating them in the wind-tunnel within AFRL and distributing them to collaborators across the globe to try them out in different concepts. It’s exciting,” said Baur.