How bats will help us create better drones

How bats will help us create better drones

The unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, have come to our days stomping (or rather flying), due to the large number of Applications they own.

And it is that, beyond logic playful utility that they bring with them, these flying robots They are very useful for all kinds of tasks, from messenger until recording area, going through the checking of the state of the atmosphere and the rescue of lost people in inaccessible places.

That is why optimizing its operation is so important that practically every week we know the design of a new drone that includes some very useful feature that the previous one did not have. All this is possible thanks to the incredible tools that the engineer in our days; But even so, sometimes it is necessary to turn to certain helpers who have much more knowledge about the art of flying than we will ever have, no matter how much technology advances. Logically I mean the flying animals;like the bat, which has given great clues to a group of swedish researchers on how to get drones with better maneuverability to low speed.

How does the long-eared bat fly?

As I was saying, the animal that has served as inspiration to these scientists, belonging to the Lund Universityhas been the Big-eared bat (Plecotus Auritus), whose big headphones Not only do they not hinder you to fly, but they make your task much easier.

To see how he did it, they introduced three copies in a smoke filled wind tunnel low density, at the end of which is deposited food, so they would try to fly towards it.

Once they flew, they were targeted with a laser to check how the air moves . This method is known as Particle Image Speedometer (PIV for its acronym in English) and allows to measure how it displaces the image of two laser pulses in a known time, thereby obtaining the speed to which the particles present in a fluid (in this case the smoke around the bats).

Thus, it could be verified that the air behind the bat accelerate down, so that ears and body they keep it high, contrary to what happens in other types of bats.

Why has this discovery about bats been so useful for drone design?

These scientists think that the flight of this bat will be useful for the drone design more efficient on the flight to low speed, since the ears, which point forward and slightly sideways, can be imitated in wings of these flying machines, getting a movement of the air flow similar and with it a better performance.

Bees to prevent drones from colliding with obstacles

The bat is not the only animal that scientists are currently relying on for drone design, well also in the Sheffield University A similar study is being carried out, in this case with bees.

These are known to insects calculate the angular velocity objects around them as they fly, so they can predict when they will encounter them and avoid them.

However, the neural circuits of bees only have the ability to calculate the address in which something moves, not the speed. How do they do it then? To verify this, these researchers have developed a computational model with which they intend to elucidate what is the mechanism they carry out and, once obtained, use it in the design of best drones, able to avoid obstacles even at high speed.

This model works thanks to hypotheses formulated from the bee behavior and the existing knowledge in the neural databases And, if everything goes well, it can give many clues for the elaboration of the drones of the future.

New technologies are very important, but nature is millions of years ahead of us. What less than to pay a little attention to him?

GIF: Foxtrotalpha

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