ANN ARBOR, MICH (WXYZ) - Imagine assembling a rescue team that includes bugs.
A University of Michigan research team says it's a possibility.
The U of M College of Engineering says that insects could be used to investigate hazardous situations before humans do.
That's one scenario foreseen by the research team led by Computer and Engineering Chair Khalil Najafi and doctoral student Erkan Aktakka investigating ways to harness energy from insects. If that energy could be captured, it could be used in a larger purpose.
The thinking is that the energy from the insect taken from body heat could be collected and used to possibly power a camera, microphone, or some other communicator that would be downsized into a small "backpack" device. The energy could come from wing movement that could create electricity.
Professor Najafi says, "We could then send these 'bugged' bugs into dangerous or enclosed environments where we would not want humans to go."
By controlling the energy from the wing movement, the batterylife of the little backpack could be extended. The energy could operate a sensor that would work in a hazardous environment.
The team published an article on the subject, "Energy Scavenging from insect flight" in the Journal of Micrormechanics and Microengineering.
More information can be found at: http://iopscience.iop.org/0960-1317/
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