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Insect flight inspires flying robots

Scientists have taken inspiration from insect wings to develop miniature flying robots for secret military surveillance operations. These dragonfly drones with in-built micro-cameras can...

india Updated: Aug 01, 2011 15:17 IST

Scientists from Oxford University have taken inspiration from insect wings to develop miniature flying robots for secret military surveillance operations.

The dragonfly drones and cyborg moths, with in-built micro-cameras, could revolutionize spying missions and rescue operations, reports the Daily Mail.

Scientists have taken their inspiration from animals, which have evolved over millennia to the perfect conditions for flight.

Zoologist Richard Bomphrey, of Oxford University, is leading a study to generate new insight into how insect wings have evolved over the last 350 million years.

He said: “Nature has solved the problem of how to design miniature flying machines.

“By learning those lessons, our findings will make it possible to aerodynamically engineer a new breed of surveillance vehicles that, because they are as small as insects and also fly like them, completely blend into their surroundings.''

The insect manoeuvrability, which allows flies the ability to land precisely and fly off again at speed may one day save lives in wars and disasters.

The military would like to develop tiny robots that can fly inside caves and barricaded rooms to send back real-time intelligence about the people and weapons inside.

“This is just one more example of how we can learn important lessons from nature. Tiny flying machines could provide the perfect way of exploring all kinds of dark, dangerous and dirty places,” Dr Bomphrey added.