the Grand Unified Fly (GUF) model

Note: This page contains the most important information from the original location at the Dickinson Lab Caltech website (, which is now offline.

GUF overview

Block diagram of "Grand Unified Fly" and a model fly situated in a tunnel environment under closed-loop visual control.


We are developing a computer model of Drosophila to investigate the aerodynamics, control, neural processing, and sensory inputs of fly flight. The components of the model are individually useful as research tools but also perform as parts in an integrated whole. For more information, please read the papers above.

Our code consists of the following elements:

  • Drosophila eye map » Viewing directions (eye map) of each Drosophila ommatidium in the compound eye
  • fsee » Fly-eye view and neural processing simulation code
  • fmech » Insect flight mechanics simulator.


William B. Dickson, Andrew D. Straw, Michael H. Dickinson (2008) Integrative Model of Drosophila Flight. AIAA Journal 46 (9). doi:10.2514/1.29862

Epstein M., Waydo, S., Fuller, S.B., Dickson, W., Straw, A., Dickinson, M.H. & Murray, R.M. (2007) Biologically Inspired Feedback Design for Drosophila Flight. Proceedings of the 2007 American Control Conference. doi:10.1109/ACC.2007.4282971

2007 ACC movie

Dickson, W.B., Straw, A.D., Poelma, C., & Dickinson, M.H. (2006) An Integrative Model of Insect Flight Control. Proceedings of the 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit AIAA-2006-0034 doi:10.2514/6.2006-34