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DCL Seminar: Aimy Wissa - Adaptive Wings: A Pathway Towards Birds' Superior Flight Performance

Event Type
Decision and Control Laboratory, Coordinated Science Laboratory
CSL Auditorium, Room B02
Feb 8, 2017   3:00 pm  
Aimy Wissa, Ph.D. - University of Illinois
Linda Meccoli
Originating Calendar
CSL Decision and Control Group

Decision and Control Lecture Series

Coordinated Science Laboratory


“Adaptive Wings: A Pathway Towards
Birds’ Superior Flight Performance”


Aimy Wissa, Ph.D.

University of Illinois

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

CSL Auditorium (B02)



There are significant efforts underway focused on understanding the physics of avian flight. There is also increasing need for small aerial robots to conduct a variety of civilian and military mission scenarios. This talk starts by showing that avian-inspired flight has the potential to combine the desired capabilities of hovering, maneuverability, agility, safety, and stealth. The concept of wings as multifunctional adaptive structures will be discussed and several flight devices found in birds’ wings will be then introduced as a pathway towards revolutionizing the current design of small unmanned air vehicles (SUAVs).  These devices include adaptive wing tips, covert-inspired deployable structures and alula-inspired leading edge devices. Experimental, analytical, and numerical results will be presented to prove the efficacy of such devices. The fundamental science at the core of all systems presented herein is structural tailoring or passive adaptivness that can be combined with efficient active control using current actuation techniques to achieve superior performance. Conclusions and suggestions for future work will be drawn accordingly.



Aimy Wissa is an assistant professor at the Mechanical Science and Engineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also the director of the Bio-inspired Adaptive Morphology (BAM) Lab. Before arriving to UIUC in 2015, she did a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Wissa earned her doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in 2014. The research was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Wissa earned her Bachelor of Sciences degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.  Aimy’s work primarily focus on the design, structural tailoring, and control of adaptive bioinspired structures and systems such as morphing wings and robots with multiple modes of locomotion.    She has distinguished herself and her research by publishing and presenting several conference papers and peer refereed journal papers. Wissa is a McNair Scholar and a recipient of the Air Force Research Laboratory Summer Faculty Fellowship.

link for robots only