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Recently the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet show showcased the OTTER I lab and its research on unmanned flight inspired by the Anomalocaris swimmer. See the clip here from the show that aired on February 15th, 2017:

Clip from Discovery Channel's Daily Planet show:

Dr. Rival’s primary research interests are in low-speed aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, with particular focus on highly unsteady, separated (vortical) flows. Although his research interests are fundamental in nature, there are numerous applications that span across a large range of Reynolds numbers from pulsatile (transitional) flow in human arteries up to dynamic-stall events on large wind turbines operating in the atmospheric boundary layer. To further exemplify the diversity of scales, some of the current research topics include the study of evolutionary convergence of marine and aerial locomotion of fish, birds, insects, mammals and even extinct species such as anomalocarids. These studies provide engineers insight into the development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) as well as the design and operation of propellers, rotors and even water turbines in highly unsteady inflow conditions.

After completing his BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s, Dr. Rival left for Germany to undertake a PhD in experimental aerodynamics at the Technische Universitaet Darmstadt. As part of a larger program studying nature-inspired fluid mechanics Dr. Rival studied energy extraction in dragonfly flight, for which he received the Hugo Denkmeier prize from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). During this period Dr. Rival was a key member of a NATO task group on Micro Aerial Vehicle aerodynamics for which the team also received the 2011 NATO RTO Scientific Achievement Award. After completing his PhD, Dr. Rival spent a year as a postdoctoral associate at MIT examining rapid underwater maneuvers inspired by nature relevant to the propulsion of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. He then spent four years on faculty at the University of Calgary before returning to Queen’s in July 2014.

One of the primary foci of the lab is to develop and apply advanced optical-based measurement techniques in order to obtain insight into the complex vortex dynamics of these transitional and turbulent flows. A number of high-speed camera and laser configurations are used in order to obtain both Eulerian and Lagrangian data sets on planar slices as well as volumetric reconstructions of the wake. For more details about the various experimental setups please see the Facilities section.

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