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Digital Video Images Butterflies

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2003
Researchers at Oxford University in the UK have used high-speed digital video to study the wing beats of red admiral butterflies. The studies, reported in the Dec. 12 issue of Nature, were conducted in a low-turbulence, low-noise wind tunnel with a nontoxic white smoke illuminated by car headlights powered by a 12-V car battery.

The rapid wing beats were captured using an array of high-speed digital cameras. Researcher Adrian L.R. Thomas indicated that today's frame rates, resolution and ease of use made this research possible. Filmed at 250 fps with a CCD camera from NAC Image Technology, the complexity of the flight patterns may translate into advances in micro air vehicles, missile design and advanced aeronautics.

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