Insects are inspiration for Maryland Drone Lab

The paper on one of the drone laboratory’s doors has scrawled on it: “Bug Laboratory (Enter at Your Own Risk).”

Inside the University of Maryland’s Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory is an unusual combination of insects, drones, and drones that look like insects. Scientists across the country are turning to insects to create smaller robotics. The research could shape the way government responds to natural disasters, and even how we receive packages.

Using elements such as sensors inspired by an insect’s vision and a flapping-wing flight system, the vehicles are combining nature and mechanics. “Typically, what we see in biology is the exact opposite of what we see in engineering systems,” said Sean Humbert, a professor of aerospace engineering and the director of the program. … (Read more)

Insect drone