An autonomous flying drone developed by researchers at the University of Washington (UW) and the University of Maryland College Park uses a live antenna from a moth to navigate toward smells.
The Smellicopter employs an antenna taken from a Manduca sexta hawkmoth, which is linked by wires to an electrical circuit to measure the average signal received from all of the antenna’s cells.
When compared with a man-made sensor, the moth antenna reacted faster and recovered more quickly.
The team created Smellicopter by adding the antenna to an open source quadcopter drone platform; the drone seeks odors via a “cast and surge” protocol mimicking moths’ smell-based navigation.
From UW News
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