Ladybugs Could Help Produce Better Umbrella Designs

First Posted: May 22, 2017 05:46 AM EDT

Nature tends to be a source of inspiration for many, including artists, musicians and even engineers. Today, thanks to high-speed cameras, scientists figured out how ladybugs could fold their hind wings. This natural design could someday help engineers in designing things.

Unlike most beetles, ladybugs have a tendency to shift from walking to flying in a matter of seconds. Their agility is a mystery to many, as these small bugs can close small spotted wing cases before they are able to fold their large wings. Hence, they look a bit like they fold their wings origami style.

According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, authors found a way to reveal how these spotted bugs could fold their wings tightly and neatly inside their rather smaller case. The researchers found that ladybugs can fold their large wings using a combination of the edge of their elytra and abdominal movements. To do this, they have to be flexible and elastic.

Tech Times reported that a CT scan of the ladybugs' wings revealed that this is possible thanks to their natural design, which involves thick and springy veins. These also keep the wings stored up tightly, without forgetting that they have to support the bugs in case they have to fly.

However, what is it about ladybugs that have engineers getting fascinated by them? It seems that they can aid in the advancement of creating structures such as wings of carrier aircraft, satellite antenna reflectors and even to create a stronger and more flexible umbrella.

Umbrellas these days have joints that allow them to bend and fold, but ladybug wings could allow engineers and researchers to see a whole new point of view in regard to creating them without the need of joints or even moving parts. The ladybug technique is especially important for researchers in the field or robotics, mechanics, aerospace and even mechanical engineering, according to the study lead author Kazuya Saito.

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