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Re: Tapejara Military Drone

Thanks Jim: viva before Christmas, hopefully. 

On the flying/walking mechadactyl thing, I must admit, I did go back to check 
the press releases when writing that last message because it does, intuitively 
at least, sound like an incredibly tall order. They're going to need to get 
that membrane to neatly fold up when grounded, have a high-degree of suppleness 
in the limbs, prevent it overbalancing and, well, basically design something 
that's akin to a real pterosaur. I can't claim to really keep up with the world 
of robotics and engineering, but, from what I have seen, I'm amazed at how 
difficult it can be to manufacture things that, in nature, are so second 
nature. I appreciate that actions like walking and flying are actually 
incredibly sophisticated actions that we take for granted, but I suppose we see 
them so frequently that it's surprising to see  engineers pour so much effort 
into achieving even crude representations of them. Still, projects like this 
have to be the way forward to push things forward, right?



Mark Witton

Palaeobiology Research Group
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road

Tel: (44)2392 842418
E-mail: Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk
>>> jrc <jrccea@bellsouth.net> 07/10/08 8:08 PM >>>
I've spoken with Rick Lind, and he has a good head on his shoulders.  I 
think they will do well with a fun project, even though I personally might 
not agree with their thoughts about anatomy.  I am very enthusiastic about 
their efforts toward walking (and think it will be very tough to accomplish 
in a replica).
P.S.  Congrats on getting the PhD thesis behind you.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Witton" <Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk>
To: <habib@jhmi.edu>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 12:48 PM
Subject: Re: Tapejara Military Drone

> Anyway, good luck to Chatterjee and his chums and all that. I'll be very 
> interested to see the finished product: a mechanical flying and walking 
> pterosaur sounds like a great idea. And if it doesn't work, they can sell 
> the designs to B-movie makers and we can all enjoy _The Termodactyl_: part 
> animal, part machine - all prehistoric terror!
> Right, there must be something more sensible to do around here somewhere. 
> Ah, there's something.
> Mark