Muscles inside a blowfly (c) Simon Walker/ University of Oxford
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3D insect flight: footage captured from inside a fly

A team of scientists from Oxford University, Imperial College, and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland have used very intense X-rays to film inside an insect as it flies.

The footage is a 3D reconstruction, made up of several X-ray images, and shows a blowfly's flight motor - the anatomy that powers its flight.

The researchers say the videos offer a glimpse into the inner workings of one of nature's most complex mechanisms.

Dr Simon Walker from Oxford's animal flight group told the BBC: "We hope that this research will [prove] useful towards the design of micro-mechanical systems, including micro air vehicles that aim to replicate insect flight."

The results are published in the journal Plos Biology.

Footage courtesy of Simon Walker, University of Oxford

  • 26 Mar 2014
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