Innovative Engineering: Reviving Avian Life Through Drone Technology

by | Oct 2, 2023

Scientists at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology have made a significant breakthrough in drone engineering. Through their research, they have successfully converted dead birds into fully functional flying drones, opening up new possibilities for the industry.

Led by Mostafa Hassanalian, a mechanical engineering professor, the team studied the flight patterns and behaviors of living birds. By examining the mechanics of avian flight, they aimed to recreate these movements in their drone prototypes, giving them the appearance and flight capabilities of real birds.

To accomplish this feat, Hassanalian sourced bird parts from Amazon and collaborated with a taxidermist to obtain naturally deceased birds. These bird parts were then attached to existing drones, providing them with the necessary structures to replicate the flight patterns of real birds.

However, this project goes beyond just aesthetics. The team plans to integrate advanced technologies into these drones, such as cameras for wildlife monitoring and gathering valuable information without disturbing live birds. They also aim to enhance the drones’ capabilities by incorporating 5G technology and leveraging artificial intelligence for energy optimization and flight adjustments.

One potential application for these drones is in airports, where they could be used to deter birds and reduce safety hazards. The lifelike appearance and predatory nature of these drones could lead birds away from airport runways, ensuring safer takeoffs and landings.

The military and border surveillance sectors could also benefit from this technology. Transforming deceased birds into functioning drones provides a discreet and efficient means of gathering intelligence and monitoring sensitive areas. These drones, with their lifelike appearance, could navigate through challenging terrains and conduct surveillance operations without arousing suspicion.

Hassanalian and his team are also investigating how birds land and recharge, with the goal of replicating this behavior in the drones. By understanding the landing mechanisms of birds, they hope to develop innovative solutions that allow the drones to recharge their power sources before taking off again.

Currently, these drones have a flight time of approximately 20 minutes. However, the team expects to increase this duration with further refinements in design and technology. By harnessing the power of 5G and artificial intelligence, these drones could become more efficient and capable of executing complex tasks for extended periods.

The potential applications of this technology are vast. In addition to surveillance and wildlife monitoring, these drones could be employed for package delivery or carrying heavy payloads. Larger birds with strong talons could be modified to handle substantial loads, opening up new possibilities for the transportation industry.

The integration of dead birds into drone technology is a testament to the creativity and innovation within the field of engineering. By combining biology and technology, researchers have taken a bold step towards replicating the natural world through artificial means.

While ethical considerations may arise regarding the use of deceased birds, it is crucial to recognize the potential positive impact of this technology. By repurposing deceased wildlife, researchers have found a unique and efficient way to advance drone technology while minimizing harm to live animals.

As Hassanalian and his team continue their research and development efforts, the future of dead bird drones appears promising. With ongoing advancements in design, technology, and integration, these drones have the potential to reshape various industries, leading us into a new era of engineering innovation.