Biomimetic "Bat-Bot"

It's always good to discover another instance of biomimicry. But who would have thought the next example would be a design based on the ear of a bat. Belgian researchers from the University of Antwerp have invented this tiny robot called the "Bat-Bot". The robot can use echolocation just like flesh-and-blood bats to distinguish one type of plant from another -- something most of us couldn't do with a guidebook and magnifying glass. Although Bat-Bot doesn't fly, it's a major step forward in using sonar or sound waves in the air, and an important development for autonomous or self-navigating robots.Simply watching bats fly in densely packed flocks and catch insects in total darkness shows that sonar is a highly successful general-purpose perception system, the researchers said.

:: Wired News