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Pterodactyl-inspired Robot To Master Air, Ground And Sea

Date:
October 5, 2008
Source:
Geological Society of America
Summary:
Scientists have reached back in time 115 million years to one of the most successful flying creatures in Earth's history -- the pterodactyl -- to conjure a robotic spy plane with next-generation capabilities.

Scientists are working to develop a Pterodrone -- an unmanned aerial vehicle that not only flies but also walks and sails just like the prehistoric pterodactyl.
Credit: Image courtesy of Geological Society of America

Scientists have reached back in time 115 million years to one of the most successful flying creatures in Earth’s history, the pterodactyl, to conjure a robotic spy plane with next-generation capabilities.

The research team consists of Paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, aeronautical engineer Rick Lind of the University of Florida, and their students Andy Gedeon and Brian Roberts.

Mimicking the physical and biological characteristics of the Early Cretaceous Brazilian pterosaur Tapejara wellnhoferi -- skin, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, nerves, cranial plate, skeletal structure, and more -- the scientists are working to develop a Pterodrone -- an unmanned aerial vehicle that not only flies but also walks and sails just like the original.

"The next generation of airborne drones won’t just be small and silent," says the multidisciplinary group, "they’ll alter their wing shapes using morphing techniques to squeeze through confined spaces, dive between buildings, zoom under overpasses, land on apartment balconies, or sail along the coastline."

The talk on Tuesday, 7 October at the 2008 Joint Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America-American Society of Agronomy-Crop Science Society of America, and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, in Houston, Texas, will provide illustrations of both the Tapejara and the proposed Pterodrone, with details on the richly improved ability of the robotic spy plane to gather data from sights, sounds, and smells in a variety of environments.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Geological Society of America. "Pterodactyl-inspired Robot To Master Air, Ground And Sea." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002103649.htm>.
Geological Society of America. (2008, October 5). Pterodactyl-inspired Robot To Master Air, Ground And Sea. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002103649.htm
Geological Society of America. "Pterodactyl-inspired Robot To Master Air, Ground And Sea." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002103649.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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