Automated hull reconstruction motion tracking (HRMT) applied to sideways maneuvers of free-flying insects

Leif Ristroph, Gordon J. Berman, Attila J. Bergou, Z. Jane Wang, Itai Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Flying insects perform aerial maneuvers through slight manipulations of their wing motions. Because such manipulations in wing kinematics are subtle, a reliable method is needed to properly discern consistent kinematic strategies used by the insect from inconsistent variations and measurement error. Here, we introduce a novel automated method that accurately extracts full, 3D body and wing kinematics from high-resolution films of free-flying insects. This method combines visual hull reconstruction, principal components analysis, and geometric information about the insect to recover time series data of positions and orientations. The technique has small, well-characterized errors of under 3 pixels for positions and 5 deg. for orientations. To show its utility, we apply this motion tracking to the flight of fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster. We find that fruit flies generate sideways forces during some maneuvers and that strong lateral acceleration is associated with differences between the left and right wing angles of attack. Remarkably, this asymmetry can be induced by simply altering the relative timing of flips between the right and left wings, and we observe that fruit flies employ timing differences as high as 10% of a wing beat period while accelerating sideways at 40% g.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1324-1335
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume212
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2009

Fingerprint

hull
hulls
Insects
flight
Biomechanical Phenomena
Diptera
insect
Fruit
insects
fruit flies
kinematics
fruit
Motion Pictures
Principal Component Analysis
Drosophila melanogaster
methodology
time series analysis
asymmetry
principal component analysis
pixel

Keywords

  • Aerodynamics
  • Fruit fly
  • Insect flight
  • Motion tracking
  • Wing kinematics measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Insect Science
  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Automated hull reconstruction motion tracking (HRMT) applied to sideways maneuvers of free-flying insects. / Ristroph, Leif; Berman, Gordon J.; Bergou, Attila J.; Wang, Z. Jane; Cohen, Itai.

In: Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 212, No. 9, 01.05.2009, p. 1324-1335.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ristroph, Leif ; Berman, Gordon J. ; Bergou, Attila J. ; Wang, Z. Jane ; Cohen, Itai. / Automated hull reconstruction motion tracking (HRMT) applied to sideways maneuvers of free-flying insects. In: Journal of Experimental Biology. 2009 ; Vol. 212, No. 9. pp. 1324-1335.
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