ADAPTIVE AIRCRAFT

ADAPTIVE AIRCRAFT DARPA is researching a plane that can change its shape in-flight, Business Week reports.Relying on adaptive materials that alter their form when exposed to heat or an electromagnetic charge, these planes would "morph -- or twist -- (their) wings into the most aerodynamic shape for take-off, cruising, or landing, just as a bird manipulates its wings to lift itself into flight and soar."It's an old idea. "The Wright Brothers used a primitive version of 'wing warping' to steer their 1903 biplane after observing birds soaring above the North Carolina dunes," BW observes in a special report on military technology.And it's one you won't see on the battlefield tomorrow. "Even the most advanced (adaptive materials) aren't yet as powerful as the human bicep."

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