(Mirror Daily, United States) – A team of scientists from the University of Illinois might have figured out how to build lighter, powerful, faster, and more maneuverable drones – by shaping it like a robo bat.
Ever since the ancient times, the bat has always been associated with stuff like horror and dread and death, but never with hope. But a new device might change the way we look at the flying creature.
Seth Hutchinson is one of the scientists working on the new robo bat project. The researcher said that the invention, which bears the mark of the University of California’s engineering department, will definitely be a winner and a game-changer.
Weighing approximately 3 ounces, the robo bat is so fast that it can literally fly circles a DJI drone. The robo bat may seem small and rather fragile, but Hutchinson said that its lightweight construction grants it enhances maneuverability, which is considered an advantage when navigating narrow environments.
The drone is called the Bat Bot, and according to the team, it has nine joints, a pair of wings, each covered by a thin and strong membrane. It has a wingspan of approximately one foot, and it can achieve greater speeds than any drone, military or otherwise.
Furthermore, the team said that the robo bat could do anything a bat can do, short of hanging head down from the ceiling. It can glide, it can launch into a controlled descent, and it can flap its wings ten times per second.
Although Bat Bot has not seen any real action, Hutchinson’s team have tested it across all types of terrain. Needless to say, the robo bat managed to ace each conceivable test.
So, we have a robot that can fly like a bat. What’s next? The project’s co-author said that the new drone prototype would be useful when exploring less hospitable terrains. For example, the team said that a similar Bat Bot outfitted with a camera can be used to survey the Fukushima disaster are and to determine the state of the nuclear reactor.
Of course, the robo drone can be used by military reconnaissance teams in order to assess the enemy strength and to chart a safe course around obstacles. The drone might also come in handy when searching for missing people, especially those trapped on mountaintops or other inaccessible locations.
For now, the team is focusing on developing a market version of the drone. If successful, we should start seeing robo bats on the market in the next five years.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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