53-4 Friday, Jan. 6 11:00 - 11:15 Swishing tails shoo flies MATHERNE, M.E.*; ZHOU, Y; COCKERILL, K; HU, D.L.; Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Institute of Technology firstname.lastname@example.org
Biting insects harm mammals through blood loss, loss of resting or feeding time, and disease infection. One way of shooing insects is through swinging one's tail. How does a tail shoo flies? We filmed tails of horses, zebras, and elephants at the Atlanta Zoo. We observe a shooing phase, where the tail swings at its natural frequency to ward off flies. We also observe an attack phase where the tail swings rapidly towards a given target. The attack phase is made possible by actuation at the base of the tail as well as along the muscles in the tail. We build a physical model where a motorized tail can be actuated at multiple points to increase the speed of the attack phase. This study could inspire prosthetics for domestic animals who have lost the tip of their tail due to illness.