Date: Apr 16, 2014 Author: Jeremy Bender Source: Business Insider (
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The Pentagon is backing Physical Sciences Inc.'s new type of 'backpack' drone, named the InstantEye, which was inspired by the flying prowess of dragonflies, Foreign Policy reports.
Physical Sciences Inc. first received funding in 2008 for the InstantEye to determine whether movements from birds and insects could be worked into drone designs to make the systems more robust.
Dr. Richard Guiler, the lead developer, told Foreign Policy that the company drew inspiration from dragonflies due to the insect's amazing capability of handling 35 mile-per-hour winds along with their ability to recover from collisions.
Physical Sciences initially planned on developing a drone with flapping wings but ultimately designed the InstantEye to have four aerial rotors instead. Research into dragonflies yielded algorithms that have been worked into the InstantEye that allow the drone to recover successfully after collisions and stay aloft during intense winds due to its unique stability design.
The InstantEye, weighing only one pound and equipped with a high definition camera, is currently being tested by the Pentagon. Physical Sciences hopes the drone can be used for surveillance, as well as helping to identify casualties in disaster relief.