Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a combination of software and hardware that will allow them to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and insect cyborgs, or biobots, to map large, unfamiliar areas – such as collapsed buildings after a disaster.
“The idea would be to release a swarm of sensor-equipped biobots – such as remotely controlled cockroaches – into a collapsed building or other dangerous, unmapped area,” says Edgar Lobaton, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author of two papers describing the work.
“Using remote-control technology, we would restrict the movement of the biobots to a defined area,” Lobaton says. “That area would be defined by proximity to a beacon on a UAV. For example, the biobots may be prevented from going more than 20 meters from the UAV.”
The biobots would be allowed to move freely within a defined area and would signal researchers via radio waves whenever they got close to each other. Custom software would then use an algorithm to translate the biobot sensor data into a rough map of the unknown environment.
Once the program receives enough data to map the defined area, the UAV moves forward to hover over an adjacent, unexplored section. The biobots move with it, and the mapping process is repeated. The software program then stitches the new map to the previous one. This can be repeated until the entire region or structure has been mapped; that map could then be used by first responders or other authorities.
“This has utility for areas – like collapsed buildings – where GPS can’t be used,” Lobaton says. “A strong radio signal from the UAV could penetrate to a certain extent into a collapsed building, keeping the biobot swarm contained. And as long as we can get a signal from any part of the swarm, we are able to retrieve data on what the rest of the swarm is doing. Based on our experimental data, we know you’re going to lose track of a few individuals, but that shouldn’t prevent you from collecting enough data for mapping.”
Co-lead author Alper Bozkurt, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State, has previously developed functional cockroach biobots. However, to test their new mapping technology, the research team relied on inch-and-a-half-long robots that simulate cockroach behavior.
In their experiment, researchers released these robots into a maze-like space, with the effect of the UAV beacon emulated using an overhead camera and a physical boundary attached to a moving cart. The cart was moved as the robots mapped the area. (Video from the experiment is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWnrGsJEw6s&feature=youtu.be.)
“We had previously developed proof-of-concept software that allowed us to map small areas with biobots, but this work allows us to map much larger areas and to stitch those maps together into a comprehensive overview,” Lobaton says. “It would be of much more practical use for helping to locate survivors after a disaster, finding a safe way to reach survivors, or for helping responders determine how structurally safe a building may be.
“The next step is to replicate these experiments using biobots, which we’re excited about.”
The Latest on: Biobots
via Google News
The Latest on: Biobots
- Sperm-like biobots swim toward seeding stem cellson September 20, 2019 at 9:52 am
Biobots modeled after sperm cells can now swim, which means they could one day seed stem cells to deliver drugs, perform minimally invasive surgery, and target cancer. “Our first swimmer study ...
- “Biobots” Will Serve Alongside South Korean Soldiers by 2024on May 15, 2019 at 4:48 am
According to the Yonhap story, DAPA plans to deploy robots inspired by humans and insects by 2024, after which it will look toward biobots that draw inspiration from birds, snakes, and various marine ...
- 3D Bioprinting Market to Set Astonishing Growth (CAGR of 21.3%) by key players Biobots, Cellink, Gesim, Poietison April 29, 2019 at 12:14 am
At present, the market is developing its presence and some of the key players from the complete study are Organovo Holdings, Envisiontec, Nano 3D Biosciences, Cyfuse Biomedical K.K., Regenhu, Aspect ...
- A cyborg cockroach could someday save your lifeon September 6, 2018 at 11:38 am
A tiny neuro-controller could provide more precise control of futuristic biobots such as cyborg cockroaches that are already being tested for use in search and rescue missions inside collapsed ...
- Biobots: Snakebot, Batbot, and More Fantastical Machines Inspired by Natureon June 28, 2018 at 5:05 am
Nature knows what it’s doing, and roboticists are more than happy to steal evolution’s ideas to make a plethora of curious and clever machines.
- NASA's latest tech investments include shapeshifters and biobotson April 1, 2018 at 6:40 pm
It wants machines that can explore many corners of the Solar System. NASA is no stranger to backing unusual technology if it'll help with exploring the cosmos, and its latest move is proof of that ...
- NASA Invests in Shapeshifters, Biobots, Other Visionary Technologyon March 30, 2018 at 10:28 am
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA is investing in technology concepts that include meteoroid impact detection, space telescope swarms, and small orbital debris mapping ...
- A lot has changed for Allevi, formerly known as BioBots--but the company pushes on.on December 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm
The goal of BioBots has always been the same: Give laboratories the ability to create living things from scratch. Those things--such as pieces of tissue or bone--could then be studied with the hopes ...
- BioBots adopts new name, launches new softwareon November 7, 2017 at 9:08 am
BioBots has a new name and a new software out in the market, continuing to propel the company on its strategy to move beyond being solely the maker of desktop three-dimensional printers and bioinks ...
via Bing News