Natures wonders: stability, maneuverability (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 14, 2013, 01:56 (2293 days ago) @ David Turell

"One of the things they teach you in engineering is that you can't have both stability and maneuverability at the same time," said Noah Cowan, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of mechanical engineering, who supervised the research. "The Wright Brothers figured this out when they built their early airplanes. They made their planes a little unstable to get the maneuverability they needed."

When an animal or vehicle is stable, it resists changes in direction. On the other hand, if it is maneuverable, it has the ability to quickly change course. Generally, engineers assume that a system can rely on one property or the other—but not both.

Nature can teach us many designs. Look at the knifefish video.

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