Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Ashok Ramasubramanian




flying prey, insect, dragonflies, frequencies, variability


The goal of this research project is to investigate the neu-ronal control of flying prey interception in dragonflies by design-ing, constructing, and programming an apparatus to simulate the complex motions of a flying insect. Our three-dimensional motion device is capable of mimicking a flying insect by moving a small bead accurately up to speeds of 1 m/s in any direction. Dragonflies are efficient aerial predators that can intercept and capture small insects in flight. Our stimulus device will be used to determine the way in which dragonfly neurons encode infor-mation about object movement in three dimensions. Sinusoidal position tracking experiments using multiple input frequencies were conducted using the apparatus. The results indicate that the machine operates smoothly with little variability between tri-als. Preliminary dragonfly testing with the apparatus showed favorable results, indicating proof of concept.