Pterodactyl-inspired robot to master air, ground and sea

Oct 02, 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: Researchers develop a device for running shoes that prevents injuries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Urban seismic network detects human sounds

Oct 29, 2014

When listening to the Earth, what clues can seismic data reveal about the impact of urban life? Although naturally occurring vibrations have proven extremely useful to seismologists, until now the vibrations ...

Kung fu stegosaur

Oct 21, 2014

Stegosaurs might be portrayed as lumbering plant eaters, but they were lethal fighters when necessary, according to paleontologists who have uncovered new evidence of a casualty of stegosaurian combat. The ...

Recommended for you

Method to reconstruct overt and covert speech

7 hours ago

Can scientists read the mind, picking up inner thoughts? Interesting research has emerged in that direction. According to a report from New Scientist, researchers discuss their findings in converting brain ...

Study says upgrading infrastructure could reduce flood damage

Oct 29, 2014

The severe flooding that devastated a wide swath of Colorado last year might have been less destructive if the bridges, roads and other infrastructure had been upgraded or modernized, according to a new study from the University ...

Walk through buildings from your own device

Oct 29, 2014

Would you like to visit The Frick Collection art museum in New York City but can't find the time? No problem. You can take a 3-D virtual tour that will make you feel like you are there, thanks to Yasutaka ...

User comments : 1

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.