Flies alway seem to land perfectly on almost any surface, at almost any angle, but researchers at Pennsylvania State University have found that their upside-down landings are much more complicated.
A new study revealed how flies use various barrel roll and flipping maneuvers to land on upside-down surfaces.
Various videos from the study, including the one at the top of this article, demonstrate how flies can adjust course in mid-air to make a perfect landing.
The researchers even included a few clips of failed landings by the flies. (I guess even flies aren't perfect in this regard.)
Flies can adjust in a 50-millisecond window to land safely. (Photo: Bo Cheng/Pennsylvania State University)
The feat of landing perfectly upside-down seems daunting, but flies rely on visual queues to make adjustments. They must decide on the best way to flip in 50 milliseconds or less.
The scientists behind the study hope that by analyzing flies' lightning-quick movements, engineers might be able to emulate their landing patterns in future iterations of drones and flying robots.