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Researchers Use Flying Insects to Drop Sensors Safely

A Manduca sexta moth carrying a sensor on its back.

University of Washington researchers have created a sensor small and light enough to ride on the back of an insect for deployment.

Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington

Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have created a 98-milligram sensor that can access difficult- or dangerous-to-reach areas by riding on a small drone or an insect and being dropped when it reaches its destination.

The sensor is released when it receives a Bluetooth command and can fall up to 72 feet at a maximum speed of 11 mph without breaking, then collect data like temperature or humidity levels for nearly three years.

Said UW's Shyam Gollakota, "This is the first time anyone has shown that sensors can be released from tiny drones or insects such as moths, which can traverse through narrow spaces better than any drone and sustain much longer flights."

The system could be used to create a sensor network within a study area researchers wish to monitor.

From University of Washington
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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