Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

The Tiny Insect Israeli Researchers Are Using To Hone The Drone

Israeli scientists are using whiteflies, tiny insects that feed on the undersides of leaves, to create better drone technology.

Tel Aviv University researchers say that the fly could serve as a model for stability in small drones, based on the fact that the propel their bodies forward before flapping their wings in flight.

“Whiteflies take a powerful ‘jump’ before they start using their wings in flight,” said Gal Ribak of TAU’s Department of Zoology, according to the Times of Israel. “Then, when the insects are moving through the air, they have to stop the rotation of their bodies to reorient themselves for flapping flight. They are able to do that by extending the tips of their folded wings, causing high air resistance behind the body. This aerodynamic force stabilizes the takeoff and only then do the insects spread their wings and start flying.”

Israel is positioning itself as a leader in drone technology, and is a major world exporter of drones. While the technology is used for a range of purposes, including surveillance and photography, armed drones are controversial. U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have been criticized for killing innocent civilians.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at [email protected] or on Twitter @naomizeveloff

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.