The Smellicopter, a bio-hybrid odor-guided autonomous palm-sized air vehicle, featured in media coverage

NIFTI researchers have designed and built the Smellicopter, a bio-hybrid odor-guided autonomous palm-sized air vehicle, led by University of Washington doctoral student Melanie Anderson. Melanie’s work was recently featured in an article and video by UW News, as well as a number of other media outlets. Watch the video below:

From the UW News article: “One huge advantage of drones is that these little robots can go places where people can’t, including areas that might be too dangerous, such as unstable structures after a natural disaster or a region with unexploded devices. Researchers are interested in developing devices that can navigate these situations by sniffing out chemicals in the air to locate disaster survivors, gas leaks, explosives and more. But most sensors created by people are not sensitive or fast enough to be able to find and process specific smells while flying through the patchy odor plumes these sources create. Now a team led by the University of Washington has developed [the] Smellicopter: an autonomous drone that uses a live antenna from a moth to navigate toward smells. [The] Smellicopter can also sense and avoid obstacles as it travels through the air.”

Lead researcher Melanie Anderson is a doctoral student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. Doctoral student Joseph Sullivan and NIFTI faculty Tom Daniel (UW Biology), Sawyer Fuller (UW Mechanical Engineering), and Timmer Horiuchi (University of Maryland Electrical and Computer Engineering) are also involved in the Smellicopter project.

The team of NIFTI researchers behind the Smellicopter recently published a paper at Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. Melanie Anderson previously won a 2018 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG).

The Smellicopter has been covered in a variety of media outlets:

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