Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sensors For Bat-inspired Spy Plane Under Development

Date:
March 31, 2008
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
A six-inch robotic spy plane modeled after a bat is being developed to gather data from sights, sounds and smells in urban combat zones and transmit information back to a soldier in real time.

Engineers envision a six-inch, robotic spy plane modeled after a bat that could gather data and send it back to soldiers in real time.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Michigan

A six-inch robotic spy plane modeled after a bat would gather data from sights, sounds and smells in urban combat zones and transmit information back to a soldier in real time.

That's the Army's concept, and it has awarded the University of Michigan College of Engineering a five-year, $10-million grant to help make it happen. The grant establishes the U-M Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Advanced Technology, called COM-BAT for short. The grant includes an option to renew for an additional five years and $12.5 million.

U-M researchers will focus on the microelectronics. They will develop sensors, communication tools and batteries for this micro-aerial vehicle that's been dubbed "the bat." Engineers envision tiny cameras for stereo vision, an array of mini microphones that could home in on sounds from different directions, and small detectors for nuclear radiation and poisonous gases.

Low-power miniaturized radar and a very sensitive navigation system would help the bat find its way at night. Energy scavenging from solar, wind, vibration and other sources would recharge the bat's lithium battery. The aircraft would use radio to send signals back to troops.

"These are all concepts, and many of them are the next generation of devices we have already developed. We're trying to push the edge of our technologies to achieve functionality that was not possible before," said Kamal Sarabandi, the COM-BAT director and a professor in the U-M Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

COM-BAT also involves the University of California at Berkeley and the University of New Mexico. It is one of four centers the Army launched as a collaborative effort among industry, academia and the Army Research Laboratory to work toward this vision of a small, robotic aircraft that could sense and communicate. Each of the four centers is charged with developing a different subsystem of the bat, a self-directed sensor inspired by the real thing.

"Bats have a highly-attuned echolocation sense providing high-resolution navigation and sensing ability even in the dark, just as our sensor must be able to do," Sarabandi said.

Echolocation allows real bats to navigate by emitting sounds and detecting the echoes.

The bat robot's body would be about six inches long. It would weigh about a quarter of a pound and use about 1 W of power.

U-M researchers intend to improve on current technologies. They'll work to develop quantum dot solar cells that double the efficiency of current cells. 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. They believe they can deliver a communication system that's 10 times smaller, lighter and more energy efficient than today's technologies.

The bat would be designed to perform short-term surveillance in support of advancing soldiers. Or it could perch at a street corner or building for longer assignments and send back reports of activity as it takes place.

"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," Sarabandi said.

COM-BAT will support 12 faculty members and 18 graduate students at U-M.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Sensors For Bat-inspired Spy Plane Under Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080330144843.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2008, March 31). Sensors For Bat-inspired Spy Plane Under Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080330144843.htm
University of Michigan. "Sensors For Bat-inspired Spy Plane Under Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080330144843.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Newsy (July 28, 2014) Stanford University published its findings for a "pure" lithium ion battery that could have our everyday devices and electric cars running longer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins