The Secret Life of Evil Robot Bees (v 1.1)


As we've discussed here before, rather than reinvent the proverbial wheel, Evil Robotics Engineers well know that mimicry, Bio-Mimicry to be specific, is often a much shorter route to the subjugation of human-kind. All manner of robots are being created that draw their design and hints of their funtionality from various animal species. In this way, time, resources and effectiveness can be leveraged and also the empathies we have for animal forms can be more effectively played upon.

Under the (U.S.) Army Research Lab’s Micro-Autonomous Systems Technology Collaborative Technology Alliance (MAST), the specific form of mimicry that they are finding the most interest in, in this case, is the quality of insect vision.

"Another kind of approach is the butterfly inspired super-small MAV under development at Johns Hopkins University, Brown University’s fruit bat study, and the “dragonfly” MAV from the German company Festo. All three are engineered to mimic the flight characteristics of their respective namesakes, but they don’t come anywhere near resembling butterflies or dragonflies, or, for that matter, fruit bats.

The Army’s new biomimicry MAV falls into the latter category, but with a twist. The developers aren’t so much interested in the particular mechanics of their MAV’s flight. The real area of biomimicry focus is in the way these MAVs see.

Specifically, Army researchers were attracted by the wide field and high update rate that characterizes insect vision. The goal is to develop a small device that can fly into a building, map the interior in 3D, and provide feedback on movements within the building.

Also distinguishing this project from others is the autonomy of the MAV. The developers, which include Carnegie-Mellon University as well as the US Army Research Laboratory, are aiming for self-guided devices that can act autonomously as team members, rather than requiring hands-on direction."

Full Story @ CleanTechnica