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Sponsor: ONR (Marc Steinberg)
Collaborators: Kristi Morgansen (UW - PI), Jason Vance (College of Charleston)

The extraordinary flight behavior of insects is characterized by robust flight performance in heterogeneous environments, consisting of gusts and turbulence that form around natural and man-made landscapes. This level of performance requires high bandwidth inner loop closure facilitated by tight integration of low-latency sensing, processing, and actuation. Such information is typically mechanosensory; examples include gyroscopic sensing halteres of Dipterans and the antenna of hawkmoths, and flow sensitive hairs in insects and bats. Successful navigation is realized through coupling of the inner loop with higher latency, far field sensory modalities such as vision and echolocation.

A major focus of the proposed research will be the analysis of experimental application of perturbations to flying animals, in the context of accurate flight dynamics and sensory processing models, to reveal how they utilize (and fuse) sensory data over different time scales.