How can a humpback whale and a device that works on the same principle as the clicker that starts your gas grill help an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fly longer and with more stability?
Well, it all starts with biological structures called tubercles that the whale uses for its unique maneuvers in the ocean. Felix Ewere, a doctoral student at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), made a mechanical version of the wavy-looking biological structures and attached it to a piezoelectric energy harvester. The piezoelectric principles the harvester uses convert mechanical action into electricity just like the red piezoelectric button on your gas grill does.
Humpback whales have rounded tubercles located on the leading edge of their fins.