In this segment, Ira talks with bioengineering researcher Michael Dickinson of Caltech about new research into why flies are so good at evading an approaching fly swatter. Writing in the journal Current Biology, Dickinson and colleagues report that the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) starts planning its escape as soon as it spots an approaching threat.
After seeing the swatter, the fly calculates its location, creates an escape plan, positions its legs to hop away from the swatter, and corrects its posture to account for the activity it was engaged in--all in about 200ms, less than a blink of the eye. We'll talk about the finding, and what researchers hope to learn by studying the movement of fruit flies.
Produced by Flora Lichtman, Correspondent and Managing Editor, Video