Print 20 comment(s) - last by ggordonliddy.. on Jul 9 at 12:54 AM

The robotic bat in all its glory  (Source: NCSU)
A robotic bat designed the physiology of real bats may have a number of uses in the future

Researchers from North Carolina State University are developing a new robotic bat with a metal skeleton that one day could have a wide range of uses in the civilian and military industries.

NC State doctoral student So Bunget is working alongside a mechanical engineering professor to develop a next-generation of micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs) that have increased maneuverability, better aerodynamics and with small sensors used to possibly pick up biological, chemical or nuclear agents in the United States and on the battlefields overseas.

Researchers studied the skeletal and muscular systems of bats to more accurately mimic their flying style.  After full construction is completed, the bat weighs less than 6 grams, researchers said.

"The key concept here is the use of smart materials," according to NC State researcher Dr. Stefan Seelecke.  "We are using a shape-memory metal alloy that is super elastic for the joints.  The material provides a full range of motion, but will always return to its original position -- a function performed by many tiny bones, cartilage and tendons in real bats."

Researchers also simulating a bat's muscular system using smart materials as well.

"We're using an alloy that responds to the heat from an electric current.  That heat actuates micro-scale wires the size of a human hair, making them contract like metal muscles."

The development and use of MAVs is expected to continue to grow as the technology and durability of such units continues to increase.  The target size for today's generation of MAVs is about six inches, though researchers are developing MAVs the size of insects.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are similar yet not as technologically advanced as some MAVs, are increasingly used in Iraq and Afghanistan since they can fly long distances and there is no threat of loss of life -- but these devices have a more specialized use.  In addition to searching for biological weapons, they can also confirm if a target was successfully destroyed after an airstrike.  Smaller MAVs will also be used to evaluate structural damage to buildings that may be unsafe for human inspectors.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Show the bat signal
By Rhl on 7/7/2009 7:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
Give us a call when you make a robotic Batman.

RE: Show the bat signal
By jadeskye on 7/7/2009 8:01:00 PM , Rating: 4
just bring back adam west :p

RE: Show the bat signal
By TSS on 7/7/2009 8:42:57 PM , Rating: 3

we'd need to make some cyborg improvements to him though. gotta match the bats.

RE: Show the bat signal
By PhoenixKnight on 7/7/2009 9:04:25 PM , Rating: 4
Nobody messes with Adam We.

RE: Show the bat signal
By Aloonatic on 7/8/2009 4:06:34 AM , Rating: 2
Give us a call when it can do the bat dance, my good chum.

RE: Show the bat signal
By sieistganzfett on 7/8/2009 7:52:40 AM , Rating: 1
Robo-bat man!
"Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law...or You'll be in a padded cell forever."

Robot bat designed real bats?
By ggordonliddy on 7/7/2009 8:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
A robotic bat designed the physiology of real bats may have a number of uses in the future

That does not make sense. Did the robotic bat really design the physiology of real bats?

Yes I know what it really means. Please just spent a few more seconds proofreading though.

RE: Robot bat designed real bats?
By kruege311 on 7/7/2009 9:51:20 PM , Rating: 1
Please just spent a few more seconds proofreading though.

Looks like you should be doing the same.

By adiposity on 7/8/2009 4:31:06 PM , Rating: 2
Comments are posted quickly and on the fly. They are not, and should not be, expected to contain perfect grammar or lack of typos. An article, on the other hand, is intended to be read by all who come to the page and should be held to a higher standard.

It's the difference between a conversation and a publication.


By ggordonliddy on 7/9/2009 12:54:23 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like you should be doing the same.

Sir, I question your loyalty. Does this possibly mean you will not be able to continue pleasing me?

Seriously though, the inability to edit comments once posted means there are many unfixable typos (whereas the article could be fixed but has not been). But I admit my mistake and submit to wet noodle lashes and glorious global warming sunshine.

By geekman1024 on 7/7/2009 10:12:26 PM , Rating: 3
dude: OMG! Godbat!!

dude #2: No, dude, it's Robotic Godbat!!

Sci-Fi to reality
By Hakuryu on 7/8/2009 3:03:55 AM , Rating: 2
Ever since I have seen robotic creatures used to spy in movies, from small animals to insects, I always thought that it was the future. How can the military and police not want to use something like this?

Honestly it scares me. The tech doesn't exist today, but in fifty years I can see a world in which robotic birds that are almost indistinguishable from real birds will be in the sky. And in one hundred years perhaps flies or ants.

It is definately an interesting technology. The use of memory materials and artificial muscle is amazing compared to the servo motors used today.

I'm not a terrorist, but the thought of people covertly watching me is creepy to say the least, and you are kidding yourself if you think this tech will not be used in that capacity.

RE: Sci-Fi to reality
By BZDTemp on 7/8/2009 4:04:13 PM , Rating: 2
It will not take fifty years. Consider how technology was fifty years ago and what has happened since.

Just few years ago NASA made light aircraft able to fly on solar power. Today an ambitious model air plane builder could likely do the same.

The march of new tech is increasing as more and more people get educated, access to the global world (not to mention electricity) and move past living from day to day. Fifty years ago there were thousands of people creating new tech today it is likely millions.

By Aquila76 on 7/8/2009 7:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
Has anyone found an article that states how much money has been sunk into this project? Not saying it isn't worth it; but, with all these specialized materials and such it can't be cheap!

RE: Cost?
By Belard on 7/8/2009 2:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
How long before we can build cyborgs?

Metal muscles... thats all thats needed.

They're in my hair!
By Iaiken on 7/8/2009 9:46:08 AM , Rating: 3

*runs into the wall*

Gov't Surveillance
By elgueroloco on 7/8/2009 9:12:30 AM , Rating: 2
Insect sized MAV's? Better not speak ill of our Great Leader while that fly is still buzzing around. :P

Actually, the CIA could make awesome use of a robotic fly with microphones and cameras.

This is cool technology, as long as it is used for the right purposes.

By rodrigu3 on 7/8/2009 6:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
Some practical applications...

Halloween parties.
Haunted houses.
Batcave security system.
Vampire surveillance and infiltration.
Messenger pigeon interceptors (available with optional missile attachments).

By ike989 on 7/8/2009 8:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
In the next issue of What If comics....

Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark have a love child.

By BoromarlSlight on 7/8/2009 10:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
A robotic bat designed the physiology of real bats may have a number of uses in the future

Robotic bats designed real bats? What?

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki