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Aerodynamic imaging by mosquitoes inspires a surface detector for autonomous flying vehicles

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Science  08 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6491, pp. 634-637
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz9634

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Sensing surfaces like a mosquito

Although sonar or lidar are used by autonomous vehicles to detect nearby objects, these approaches incur significant equipment and signal-processing costs. Nakata et al. show that mosquitos detect surfaces using the flow fields caused by the movement of their own wings (see the Perspective by Young and Garratt). Near surfaces, there are small changes in the pressure and velocity that mosquitos can detect using their sensitive antennae. The authors translated this process into a simple, low-cost approach for detecting surfaces near a flying quadcopter.

Science, this issue p. 634; see also p. 586

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