Smellicopter: This Drone Uses Live Moth Antenna to Seek Out Smells

Robotic Gizmos

Here is a robot that uses live moth antenna to seek out smells. Developed by University of Washington researchers, this autonomous drone navigates towards smells and avoids obstacles along the way. As lead author Melanie Anderson explains:
By using an actual moth antenna with Smellicopter, we’re able to get the best of both worlds: the sensitivity of a biological organism on a robotic platform where we can control its motion.

Antennae from the Manduca sexta hawkmoth were used for this drone. Once removed, they stay biologically and chemically active for up to four hours. Wires were inserted into either end of the antenna to connect it to an electrical circuit and measure average signal from all the cells. You can find out more about the Smellicopter here.
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