Researchers test insect-inspired robot

These nano-quads are the size that the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Micro-Autonomous Systems Technology consortium of researchers envision. The current state is about as compact as a microwave oven. (Photo courtesy of KMel robotics)

These nano-quads are the size that the U.S. Army Research
Laboratory Micro-Autonomous Systems Technology consortium of researchers envision. The current state is about as compact as a microwave oven. (Photo courtesy of KMel robotics)

By Joyce P. Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs

Army researchers are finding they have much to learn from bees hovering near a picnic spread at a park.

Dr. Joseph Conroy, an electronics engineer at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, part of the Research, Development and Engineering Command, works with robotic systems that can navigate by leveraging visual sensing inspired by insect neurophysiology.

A recently developed prototype that is capable of wide-field vision and high update rate, hallmarks of insect vision, is something researchers hope to test at the manned and unmanned teaming, or MUM-T exercise at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Georgia. This project will give us a chance to implement methods of perception such as 3-D mapping and motion estimation on a robotics platform, Conroy said.

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