Paper 2 Tree Outreach

Posted on March 26, 2018 by

On November 6st, the BAM lab participated to the Paper 2 Tree kickoff outreach event at the Booker T. Washington STEM Academy in Champaign, IL.
Professor Wissa and graduate students presented the lab’s ornithopter.  Students were introduced to bio-inspired design and were able to design and built gliders.

To learn more about the Paper 2 Tree initiative:

The Click Beetle project wins the 2nd Prize of the Biom’Innovate Challenge in Senlis, France

Posted on January 29, 2018 by

Biom'Innovate Challenge 2017

Congratulations to the Click Beetle Project team who won the 2nd prize of the Biom’Innovate Challenge in July 2017 at the European Center for Excellence in Biomimicry (CEEBIOS – Senlis, France). The Biom’Innovate Challenge is a student challenge which occurs during the Biomim’Expo, annual meeting that brings together French and european public, researchers, companies and stakeholders around biomimicry.  


Congratulations to the 2017 BAM Lab graduates!

Posted on July 3, 2017 by

Grad17Michael Lynch, May 2017

Congratulations to the 1st BAM lab graduates! Michael and Boris were among the first BAMers to join and played a major in setting up the lab.  Michael and Boris obtained their M.S., respectively, in Mechanical Science and Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Boris Mandadzhiev, May 2017

Ornithopter Indoor Flight Test

Posted on June 2, 2017 by

On April 27th, the BAM lab successfully flew the ornithopter during the first indoor flight test at the Intelligent Robotics lab. Markers were placed on the wings of the robot to track its motion with the 8 cameras placed in the room. Data will be used to simulate the wings’ motion.

weSTEM Illinois 2017

Posted on February 13, 2017 by

On January 28th, 2017, during the weSTEM Illinois Conference, hosted by GradSWE at the University of Illinois, Professor Aimy Wissa led a breakout session where she was able to engage with graduate students and share her experiences in a STEM field. The weSTEM Illinois Conference is designed for graduate students, by graduate students with goals of helping current students to be inspired to excel in their field, stay motivated to complete their degree, and grow passionate about the positive impact they can have on the world with a graduate degree in STEM.

ICAST 2016

Posted on November 1, 2016 by


Earlier this month, graduate student Josiah Waite traveled to Lake George, NY to present at ICAST, the International Conference on Adaptive Structures and Technologies. Josiah presented an aeroelastic model that showed passive deployment of covert-inspired devices was possible and likely to improve lift on UAVs. He had a great time and is looking forward to presenting more in the future.



Posted on October 31, 2016 by


On September 28, graduate students Boris Mandadzhiev and Michael Lynch traveled to Stowe, VT to present their research papers to the ASME SMASIS 2016 Conference. Boris presented a paper titled, ALULA-INSPIRED LEADING EDGE DEVICE FOR LOW REYNOLDS NUMBER FLIGHT, and Michael presented a technical presentation on Bio-Inspired Wingtip Devices for Low Reynolds Number Flight. Both students had a great time and are looking forward to their next conference!


BAM Lab Summer Progress

Posted on August 15, 2016 by


This summer, members of the BAM Lab have been hard at work on their respective projects. The lab is excited to share the tremendous progress made across many projects.


Michael Lynch, a graduate student researcher in the BAM Lab, has been designing an experiment to examine the effect of wingtip slots seen on many species of birds. He has created a physical model wing for wind tunnel testing to examine various parameters such as wingtip spacing and wingtip angle of attack at various wind speeds. Michael hopes to better understand the reason why birds have these wingtip structures and eventually wishes to implement adaptive wingtip structures on unmanned aerial vehicles.


Graduate Student Boris Mandadzhiev has been hard at work trying to understand the effects of an alula feather on bird wings. He has spent this summer conducting experiments on a 2D wing setup as well as designing a fully 3D setup. Boris hopes to conduct hotwire and PIV measurements on his model so as to better understand the effect of the alula feather on the flow over a bird’s wing, and eventually, wishes to create a deployable alula device for the ornithopter.


Graduate students Josiah Waite and Chengfang Duan have spent their summer creating a low fidelity, aeroelastic model to better understand the effect of covert feathers seen on bird species. They have worked in conjunction with the Wright Patterson Airforce Base in developing this model. The pair hopes to eventually validate their model with wind tunnel experiments, and then implement the devices on an unmanned aerial vehicle.


Luis Urrutia, an undergraduate student in the BAM Lab, has spent this summer working on many different projects for the BAM Lab. He has worked on setting up and calibrating an open source 3D printer, implementing a wing rotation device (as shown in the picture) for wind tunnel testing, and helped conducted experiments in the wind tunnel.


Undergraduate student Brian Chien has spent the summer working design improvements for a crawling robot, a project in conjunction with the Kinetic Materials Research Group. He has implemented many design improvements that have increased the crawling efficiency of the robot significantly. Brian hopes to eventually create a multi-gait robot capable of operating in unique and adverse conditions.


Undergraduate student Ben Smet has spent the summer implementing a sensor and data logging package for the ornithopter. His goal is to create baseline measurements of the power requirements and operational forces associated with the ornithopter at various conditions. In the future, the goal will be to see how improvements such as adaptive wingtips, flexible wing spars, deployable coverts, and other devices affect the ornithopter.