Monday, March 31, 2008

Combat Spy Plane

The US Army has a new concept: a six-inch robotic spy plane, modeled after a bat, that could gather data from smells, sights, and sounds in combat zones, then transmit the information back to a soldier in real time. A grant was awarded to the University of Michigan College of Engineering a five year, $10-million grant to turn concept into reality. The grant establishes the U-M Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Advanced Technology, called COM-BAT for short.

A low-power tiny radar and a sensitive navigation system would help the bat maneuver even in night conditions. It would weigh about a quarter of a pound and use about 1 W of power. The bat's lithium battery would constantly be charging through energy scavenging from wind, solar, vibration and other sources.

The grant includes an options to renew for another five year period, with additional funding. So don't expect anything anytime soon...

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