Biomimetic mechanosensors could keep drones on course

Purdue University researchers have looked to nature to develop sensors that could help drones navigate dangerous environments and cars to avoid accidents caused by human error. The sensors have been inspired by spiders, bats, birds and other animals whose senses are nerve endings linked to mechanoreceptors, which respond to mechanical stimuli. The nerve endings – so-called mechanosensors – detect and process information essential to an animal’s survival and are comprised of hair, cilia or feathers.
There is already an explosion of data that intelligent systems can collect – and this rate is increasing faster than what conventional computing would be able to process, said Andres Arrieta, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, whose lab applies principles of nature to the design of structures. Nature doesn’t have to collect every piece of data; it filters out what it needs.

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