Bat-like Solar Spy Plane

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Written by Raegan Payne

Imagine a six-inch spy plane that sends back visual and chemical data in real time, runs on vibrations as well as sun and wind power – and looks like a bat! Thanks to a five-year $10-million grant from the Army the University of Michigan College of Engineering will be making this Batman wet dream a reality. The renewable robot will be developed at U-M’s newly created Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Advanced Technology a mouthful also appropriately known as COM-BAT. The University of Michigan will work with the University of California at Berkley as well as the University of New Mexico to create different aspects of the technology.

Miniaturizing the various systems of “the bat” and making them more energy efficient are big challenges for the groups working on COM-BAT. The tiny plane must be able to collect large amounts of surveillance data and travel great distances while running on 1 W of power. But COM-BAT is ambitious and they fully anticipate being able to shrink all the systems. For example “They expect their autonomous navigation system, which would allow the robot to direct its own movements, to be 1,000 times smaller and more energy efficient than systems being used now.”

The potential applications of this condensed technology are virtually limitless, “Throughout this research, we expect to make technological breakthroughs and have a much wider range of applications for other types of engineering problems, from medical to industrial,” Kamal Sarabandi, the COM-BAT director and a professor in the U-M Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

<<editors note>>
Next time a bat seems to fly by your home “robot-style” ya’ld better protect ya neck ;)
source:: Ecogeek.org