A team of University researchers develops an autonomous, obstacle-avoiding drone that uses a live moth antenna to navigate toward smells.
SEATTLE - Researchers at the University of Washington created an odor-detecting, autonomous drone guided by a live moth antenna to detect smells and avoid obstacles in its flight path.
In the event of a natural disaster or dangerous situation, perhaps detecting bomb threats, this drone could pose as a life-saving resource to use.
“Nature really blows our human-made odor sensors out of the water,” lead author Melanie Anderson, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering told UW News. “By using an actual moth antenna with Smellicopter, we’re able to get the best of both worlds: the sensitivity of a biological organism on a robotic platform where we can control its motion.”
The challenge humans face is detecting odors or chemicals, in the event of saving lives during natural disasters, explosions or gas leaks. One technical aid in these situations could be the Smellicopter, researchers said in their experiment results in the journal IOP Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.