[nature.com] | June 29, 2020
Undulation enables gliding in flying snakes
When flying snakes glide, they use aerial undulation. To determine if aerial undulation is a flight control strategy... read more

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“Snakes in the Cube — Immersive visualization of animal glide trajectories via augmented reality,” will use the augmented reality expertise of ICAT to better understand flying snake locomotion. This proposal complements a previous ICAT faculty grant to record snake glides in the Cube using the motion capture system. The overall objective is to produce an immersive visualization of multiple snake glides that will let us pause, playback, and interact with the experimental data.

Our first aim is to produce life-like visualizations of flying snakes during a glide with augmented reality equipment, such as an Oculus Rift. Our second aim is to superimpose metrics such as aerodynamic force vectors, velocity vectors, and instantaneous body curvature, in the visualization. The first aim will enable us interact with the raw experimental data and the second aim will help analyze the relevant physics.

This project is significant because it combines engineering, biology, and art to answer a unique question of animal behavior. It will foster student interactions across disciplines that would not normally occur without the Cube and ICAT studios to aid in the visualization. And most importantly, it will provide an avenue to engage the larger community about research at Virginia Tech and motivate future generations of students to pursue science. This visualization will allow people to partake in the research process as if they were there for the experiment.