Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why Lizards Always Have Safe Landings

It comes little to no surprise to us, when lizards land right on their feet without having to use much of
their energy. Well, its natural and becoming of these reptiles, we suppose. Call it instinct, or what have
they, but we do not really mind. Here’s something that might stir you up and give something to think
about. Lizards do not have wings whatsoever, why do most lizards have a knack for always finding the
perfect way to land on their feet, and safely at that. What propels them to leap as high as they could and
land ultimately on safe ground without having to inadvertently lie flat on its back?
Why Lizards Always Have Safe Landings
Lizards, in fact have the innate ability to swing their tails one way to rotate their body the other, an
amazing kind of reptilian gymnastics! In an article from redOrbit, a research was presented at the
Society for Experimental Biology showing the science behind lizards’ safe landing techniques. The
remarkable thing about this experiment was not just limited to the lizards landing prowess per se. The
main goal was to look suitable application of such science to help engineers design air or land based
robots with better ground manipulation and perfect stability, something like what they achieved in Iron

What is the mechanism behind precise aerial righting? According to the study, the capacity to
manipulate aerial righting and recovering from falling in an upside down position may all depend on the
creature’s body size, morphology and mass distribution. Although not all lizards practically launch an air
striking pose, some have learned, adapted and developed a way to land safely on their feet without all
the parachutes and gears.

Along the way, lizards living in their natural habitats have to co-exist with others and adapt to their
changing environment. There are countless situations where they could put themselves at risk from
falling. To counter the risk, many times over they have adjusted their reptilian bodies and tails hard
enough to land with so much ease.

Although it would still take time to discover the strategies that lizards employ, one thing is helpful. By
swinging their tails in one direction and moving their bodied in the other, scientists have developed a
robot based on their understanding of the lizards’ aerial righting techniques. Named “RightingBot”, what
lizard can actually do, this robot is about to do as well! Amazing, isn’t it?

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