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Jul 09 2019 - 08:00pm
Training and Learning From the Hummingbird Robot

Hummingbirds are renowned for their unique method of flying. No other bird can hover or fly forwards, backwards, up, down, and sideways the way hummingbirds do. Their wings function more like those of insects than of birds. As research over the past few years has given the scientific community more insight into the hummingbird’s maneuverability, there is growing interest in replicating this motion robotically. The speed, maneuverability, silence, and size of the hummingbird makes it the ideal creature to imitate when trying to build something that resembles a drone with enhanced mobility.

Researchers at Purdue University have finally succeeded in creating a robotic hummingbird, trained by machine learning algorithms to navigate without being able to see its surroundings. Though it still has a way to go, the researchers hope the robot bird can be used for surveillance, search and rescue, and other intelligence gathering missions.

What else can we learn from the development of a robot hummingbird? What are the benefits of a hummingbird robot over other small drones? What learning opportunities could these bots pose? What lessons should we take away from this Purdue University project. Join the discussion on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion:

@02:11 Rebecca Sullivan: This research is naturally intriguing because it highlights the intricacies of nature. I hope these and all scientists maintain a sense of wonder at the capacities of even the tiniest living animals, and seek to understand and not only to control nature through their artificial production.

@02:21 Anna Curry: The most effective human innovation takes its inspiration from nature, and these hummingbird bots are another example of this. It's interesting to see how they plan to use this technology for search and rescue efforts. I wouldn't have thought of that!

Posted in: New Learning TimesVialogues|By: Melanie Hering|28 Reads