Scientists have just stumbled upon a remarkable new finding with regard to the ladybug that could change the future of everything from aeronautics to umbrellas.
The humble ladybug is the subject of an incredible new study that could lead to breakthroughs in industries such as aeronautics, scientists believe. Researchers used high-speed cameras, CT scanners, and nail art supplies to figure out how these bugs unfurl and then fold back up their huge wings relative to their body, and they think they’ve cracked the code.
Japanese scientists were able to replace their red and black wing cases with transparent ones in order to figure out how they were able to fold their wings and tuck them away, and they’ve finally mapped out the precise process. They published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They used CT scans of folded and unfolded wings to create an exact pattern of each fold. Scientists compared the process to folding origami, and even demonstrated it using that method.
“Japanese scientists have figured out how ladybugs fold their wings by transplanting a transparent artificial wing onto the insect and observing its underlying folding mechanism,” the statement from the University of Tokyo reads. “The study’s findings, which help explain how the wings can maintain their strength and rigidity during flight, while becoming elastic for compact folding and storage on the ground, provide hints for the innovative design of a wide range of deployable structures, from satellite antennas to microscopic medical instruments to articles for daily use like umbrellas and fans.
“Ladybugs are highly mobile insects that can switch between walking and flying with ease and speed because they can quickly deploy and collapse their wings. Their wings consist of the hardened elytra, the forewings with the familiar spots, and the soft-membrane hindwings used for flight, which are covered and protected by the elytra.”
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