Flight Dynamics in Drosophila Through a Dynamically-scaled Robotic Approach [thesis]

Michael John Elzinga
Flies are particularly adept at balancing the competing demands of delay tolerance, performance, and robustness during flight, which invites thoughtful examination of their multimodal feedback architecture. This dissertation examines stabilization requirements for inner-loop feedback strategies in the flapping flight of Drosophila, the fruit fly, against the backdrop of sensorimotor transformations present in the animal. Flies have evolved multiple specializations to reduce sensorimotor
more » ... but sensory delay during flight is still significant on the timescale of body dynamics. I explored the effect of sensor delay on flight stability and performance for yaw turns using a dynamically-scaled robot equipped with a real-time feedback system that performed active turns in response to measured yaw torque. The results show a fundamental tradeoff between sensor delay and permissible feedback gain, and suggest that fast mechanosensory feedback provides a source of active damping that compliments that contributed by passive effects. Presented in the context of these findings, a control architecture whereby a haltere-mediated inner-loop proportional controller provides damping for slower visually-mediated feedback is consistent with tethered-flight measurements, free-flight observations, and engineering design principles. Additionally, I investigated how flies adjust stroke features to regulate and stabilize level forward flight. The results suggest that few changes to hovering kinematics are actually required to meet steady-state lift and thrust requirements at different flight speeds, and the primary driver of equilibrium velocity is the aerodynamic pitch moment. This finding is consistent with prior hypotheses and observations regarding the relationship between body pitch and flight speed in fruit flies. The results also show that the dynamics may be stabilized with additional pitch damping, but the magnitude of required damping increases with flight speed. I posit that differences in stroke deviation between the u [...]
doi:10.7907/msrs-jg88 fatcat:jiatdigy7basbofqmpmi4tnbza