Working at the leading edges of fundamental science to invent the technologies of the future.



Engineers Taught a Drone to Herd Birds Away From Airports


Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have developed a new control algorithm that enables a single drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from the airspace of an airport. The effectiveness of the algorithm is only limited by the number and size of the incoming birds, Professor Chung says, adding that the team plans to explore ways to scale the project up for multiple drones dealing with multiple flocks.[Caltech story]

Graduate Student Places 4th in National Soaring Competition


GALCIT Graduate student Michael Marshall, who is a member of Professor Sergio Pellegrino’s Space Structures Laboratory, has received the Rudolph W. Mozer Trophy from the Soaring Society of America (SSA) for being the highest ranking contestant under 26 years of age at any U.S. National Soaring contest. He also placed 4th in the U.S. National Soaring contest. Soaring involves flying without flapping wings or using engine power, or as described by the SSA “to fly as the hawk and eagle has been mankind's dream for centuries. Modern sailplanes make soaring flight possible, and with them humans can fly higher, faster, and farther than the greatest of birds, using only an invisible force of nature to stay aloft.” [SSA news]

Dragonfly Larvae Inspire New Designs for Prosthetic Heart Valves


Professor Mory Gharib and postdoctoral researcher Chris Roh (MS '13, PhD '17) have studied the design and control of the jets that dragonfly larvae use to propel themselves to re-design health values. "The current heart valve design is a one-size-fits-all, where no patient-specific design is considered, and this causes many post-transplant complications," Dr. Roh says. "We believe that an intentionally off-centered opening of the heart valve to more closely match the patient's original blood flow will be an important design parameter that can be adjusted based on each patient's heart morphology." [Caltech story]