Biological Investigation of the Stimulated Flapping Motions of the Moth, Manduca sexta
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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An investigation was conducted assessing the possibility and feasibility of reproducing the biological flapping motion of the wings of the moth, Manduca sexta hawkmoth by artificially stimulating the flight muscles for Micro Air Vehicle research. Electromyographical signals were collected using bipolar intramuscular fine wire electrodes inserted into the primary flight muscles, the dorsal longitudinal and dorsal ventral muscles, of the adult M.sexta. These signals were recorded and associated with wing movement using high speed video. The signals were reapplied into the corresponding muscle groups with the intention of reproducing similar flapping motion. A series of impulse signals were also directed into the primary flight muscles as a means of observing muscle response through measured forewing angles. This study pioneered electromyographic research on M.sexta at the Air Force Institute of Technology with tests conducted with pupal implants and fine wire electrodes. Through this process, the research showed the deformational structural changes that take place when a wing is removed from an insect and proved that muscular stimulation is a viable means of measuring wing movement while still attached to the moth. This study also assisted in developing an understanding related to the role that a thorax-like fuselage could play in future micro aircraft designs. This study has shown that partial neuromuscular control of the primary flight muscles a Manduca sexta is possible with electrical stimulants which could be used to directly control insect flight.