Pterodactyl-inspired robot to master air, ground and sea

October 2, 2008
Configuration of the Pterodrone with vertical tail at the nose. Credit: Brian Roberts

Paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, aeronautical engineer Rick Lind of the University of Florida, and their students Andy Gedeon and Brian Roberts have reached back in time 115 million years to one of the most successful flying creatures in Earth's history, the pterodactyl, to conjure a robotic spy plane with next-generation capabilities.

Mimicking the physical and biological characteristics of the Early Cretaceous Brazilian pterosaur Tapejara wellnhoferi -- skin, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, nerves, cranial plate, skeletal structure, and more -- the scientists are working to develop a Pterodrone -- an unmanned aerial vehicle that not only flies but also walks and sails just like the original.

"The next generation of airborne drones won't just be small and silent," says the multidisciplinary group, "they'll alter their wing shapes using morphing techniques to squeeze through confined spaces, dive between buildings, zoom under overpasses, land on apartment balconies, or sail along the coastline."

The talk on Tuesday, 7 October at the 2008 Joint Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America-American Society of Agronomy-Crop Science Society of America, and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, in Houston, Texas, will provide illustrations of both the Tapejara and the proposed Pterodrone, with details on the richly improved ability of the robotic spy plane to gather data from sights, sounds, and smells in a variety of environments.

Source: Geological Society of America

Explore further: Researcher unravels century-old woolly tale to find truth behind massive bones

Related Stories

Origins of Red Sea's mysterious 'cannon earthquakes' revealed

June 15, 2015

For many generations, Bedouin people living in the Abu Dabbab area on the Egyptian Red Sea coast have heard distinct noises—like the rumbling of a quarry blast or cannon shot—accompanying small earthquakes in the region. ...

What are the longest rivers in the world?

June 4, 2015

There are many long rivers in the world, but which ones are the longest? Naturally, there is a disagreement over the answer to this question. While The Nile has traditionally been considered to be longest in the world, the ...

Recommended for you

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
not rated yet Oct 02, 2008
I hope these guys have read the news that they are wasting their time: http://www.physor...647.html

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.