Analysis of Dynamics in Escaping Flight Initiation in Drosophila

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Francisco A Zabala, Gwyneth M Card, Ebraheem I Fontaine, Richard M Murray, Michael H Dickinson
2008 IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob 2008), 8, 2008 (to appear)

We present a mathematical reconstruction of the kinematics and dynamics of flight initiation as observed in high-speed video recordings of the insect Drosophila melanogaster. The behavioral dichotomy observed in the fruit flies' flight initiation sequences, as a response to different stimuli, was reflected in two contrasting sets of dynamics once the flies had become airborne. By reconstructing the dynamics of unconstrained motion during flight initiations, we assess the fly's responses (generation of forces and moments) amidst these two dynamic patterns. Moreover, we introduce a 3D visual tracking algorithm as a tool to analyze the wing kinematics applied by the insect, and investigate their relation(s) to the production of these aerodynamic forces. Using this framework we formulate different hypotheses about the modulation of flight forces and moments during flight initiation as a way torefining our understanding of insect flight control.,